An infographic showing the movement of bird species over a 10 year study period in Cusuco National Park, Honduras. The birds moved to higher altitudes due to climate change and deforestation. This lead to higher species richness, diversity and competition at higher altitudes.

Ten years of cumulative research in Cusuco National Park has shown that bird species are rapidly shifting upslope due to habitat loss and climate change. Read more in our paper summary below. (Neate-Clegg et. al., 2018, Biotropica)

 

Paper Title: Elevational changes in the avian community of a Mesoamerican cloud forest park

Micro-podcast: If you would rather listen to the summary, check out episodes of our micro-podcast, Science Snacks, on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Google Podcasts.

Paper Summary:

Cloud forests are home to many specialized species. Opwall teams, led by Dr Sam Jones, looked at trends in a 10-yr data set from Cusuco National Park, Honduras, to investigate how bird communities in cloud forests may be changing over time. They found that the bird community as a whole is gradually shifting upslope every year, although it is not clear if this is due to habitat loss in lowland areas, climate change, or both factors.  Either way, further habitat conversion and climate change is likely to continue pushing cloud forest bird communities upslope into elevations they have not historically been found, resulting in increased resource competition and mortality. For species with very specialized environments, such as those near the peaks, this upslope shift may even lead to local extinction – a severe threat to cloud forests known as the “escalator to extinction” effect.

Authors: Montague H. C. Neate-Clegg, Samuel E. I. Jones, Oliver Burdekin, Merlijn Jocque, & Çağan Hakkı Şekercioğlu

Journal: Biotropica

Year: 2018

Read the full paper

If you would rather listen to the summary, check out episodes of our micro-podcast, Science Snacks, on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Google Podcasts.

Opwall’s Science Snacks is where we share our conservation biology knowledge with you, in the form of tasty little snacks! You’ll find summaries of research paper and micropodcasts about our most exciting tid-bits.

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