Relative contribution of climate and non-climate drivers in determining dynamic rates ofboreal birds at the edge of their range

By: , and 



The Adirondack Park in New York State contains a unique and limited distribution of boreal ecosystem types, providing habitat for a number of birds at the southern edge of their range. Species are projected to shift poleward in a warming climate, and the limited boreal forest of the Adirondacks is expected to undergo significant change in response to rising temperatures and changing precipitation patterns. Here we expand upon a previous analysis to examine changes in occupancy patterns for eight species of boreal birds over a decade (2007–2016), and we assess the relative contribution of climate and non-climate drivers in determining colonization and extinction rates. Our analysis identifies patterns of declining occupancy for six of eight species, including some declines which appear to have become more pronounced since a prior analysis. Although non-climate drivers such as wetland area, connectivity, and human footprint continue to influence colonization and extinction rates, we find that for most species, occupancy patterns are best described by climate drivers. We modeled both average and annual temperature and precipitation characteristics and find stronger support for species’ responses to average climate conditions, rather than interannual climate variability. In general, boreal birds appear most likely to colonize sites that have lower levels of precipitation and a high degree of connectivity, and they tend to persist in sites that are warmer in the breeding season and have low and less variable precipitation in the winter. It is likely that these responses reflect interactions between broader habitat conditions and temperature and precipitation variables. Indirect climate influences as mediated through altered species interactions may also be important in this context. Given climate change predictions for both temperature and precipitation, it is likely that habitat structural changes over the long term may alter these relationships in the future.

Study Area

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Relative contribution of climate and non-climate drivers in determining dynamic rates ofboreal birds at the edge of their range
Series title PLoS ONE
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0224308
Volume 14
Issue 10
Year Published 2019
Language English
Publisher Public Library of Science
Contributing office(s) National Climate Adaptation Science Center
Description e0224308, 19 p.
Country United States
State New York
Other Geospatial Adirondack Park
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