Implications of climate change for wetland-dependent birds in the Prairie Pothole Region

By: , and 



The habitats and food resources required to support breeding and migrant birds dependent on North American prairie wetlands are threatened by impending climate change. The North American Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) hosts nearly 120 species of wetland-dependent birds representing 21 families. Strategic management requires knowledge of avian habitat requirements and assessment of species most vulnerable to future threats. We applied bioclimatic species distribution models (SDMs) to project range changes of 29 wetland-dependent bird species using ensemble modeling techniques, a large number of General Circulation Models (GCMs), and hydrological climate covariates. For the U.S. PPR, mean projected range change, expressed as a proportion of currently occupied range, was −0.31 (± 0.22 SD; range − 0.75 to 0.16), and all but two species were projected to lose habitat. Species associated with deeper water were expected to experience smaller negative impacts of climate change. The magnitude of climate change impacts was somewhat lower in this study than earlier efforts most likely due to use of different focal species, varying methodologies, different modeling decisions, or alternative GCMs. Quantification of the projected species-specific impacts of climate change using species distribution modeling offers valuable information for vulnerability assessments within the conservation planning process.

Study Area

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Implications of climate change for wetland-dependent birds in the Prairie Pothole Region
Series title Wetlands
DOI 10.1007/s13157-016-0791-2
Volume 36
Issue s2
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher Society of Wetland Scientists
Publisher location McClean, VA
Contributing office(s) Fort Collins Science Center
Description 15 p.
First page 445
Last page 459
Country Canada, United States
Other Geospatial Prairie Pothole Region
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details