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Birds and Climate Change
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Book description

From the red grouse to the Ethiopian bush-crow, bird populations around the world can provide us with vital insights into the effects of climate change on species and ecosystems. They are among the best studied and monitored of organisms, yet many are already under threat of extinction as a result of habitat loss, overexploitation and pollution. Providing a single source of information for students, scientists, practitioners and policy-makers, this book begins with a critical review of the existing impacts of climate change on birds, including changes in the timing of migration and breeding and effects on bird populations around the world. The second part considers how conservationists can assess potential future impacts, quantifying how extinction risk is linked to the magnitude of global change and synthesising the evidence in support of likely conservation responses. The final chapters assess the threats posed by efforts to reduce the magnitude of climate change.


'Over twenty years ago, when I first became interested in the impacts of climate change on wild plants and animals, the literature was limited and the field wide open. Now it is very hard to keep up. This marvellous book is exactly what I need to feel on top of the subject once more, and needs to be read not just by ornithologists, but by all ecologists struggling to understand and predict the impacts of climate change on the living world. The authors are two world-leaders on the impacts of climate change on birds. The text summarises the effects of climate change that have already happened, seeks to predict what we can expect in the future, and considers what conservation biologists can do to mitigate its effects. The coverage is comprehensive, and skilfully distils a large and complicated literature into a compelling … narrative.'

John Lawton - Chairman, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and Vice-President, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds

'Climate change is emerging as the biggest threat to nature worldwide and one of the most challenging to understand and address. This book synthesises the state of knowledge on these issues for birds: the best-known wildlife group, and one that can provide insights and solutions for biodiversity more generally. The chapters go beyond the well-documented effects of climate change on phenology to consider the impacts on demography and distributions, and the knock-on effects for ecological communities. Most useful for the conservation community are the chapters synthesising approaches to safeguarding species and important sites under a changing climate, including consideration of the impacts of mitigation measures. Through combining an exhaustive review of the scientific literature, novel insights, helpful summaries, informative graphics and accessible language, this book will be the first one I turn to when wanting to find out more about climate change impacts on birds and the implications for conservation.'

Stuart Butchart - Head of Science, BirdLife International

'Ongoing climate change has already had substantial impacts on the natural world. In birds, it affects the timing of their breeding and migrations, their numbers and distribution patterns. This book provides the most thorough and detailed review of this rapidly expanding research area yet published, and discusses various conservation measures that can be taken to mitigate the increasing impacts of climate change. This book provides not only a thorough review of the main known impacts of climate change on bird populations, but also fresh analyses of the wealth of data now available from around the world. It also provides detailed assessments of measures that might be taken to help birds through this period of dramatic environmental change. The authors ably synthesise known information regarding birds and climate change, undertake new analyses of the data, and assess the conservation measures that might be taken to minimise the effects on bird populations.'

Ian Newton - Emeritus Fellow, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology

'The science is well-explained and if you want to understand how climate change is already affecting birds, and how it will in future, as well as how scientists study these matters, then [this] is a book for you.'

Mark Avery - former Conservation Director, RSPB

'Pearce-Higgins and Green have produced one of the best written textbooks that I have ever encountered … an invaluable resource for both scientific and lay audiences on the observed and projected impacts of climate change on our avifauna, and how these impacts can be reduced by appropriate adaptation and mitigation. This excellent book is highly recommended.'

Source: British Trust for Ornithology (

'Birds and Climate Change offers readers a thorough review of knowledge on the impacts of climate change on bird populations, distributions, and conservation, drawing on a wide range of historical and up-to-date sources … the book is an excellent source for all professional ornithologists and graduate students embarking on work in avian demography, distribution, communities, and conservation, particularly because future research needs are also well and logically developed. Overall, we found this book to be the most thorough and detailed review to date on the impacts of climate change on free-living species and, though focused exclusively on birds, [it] should be appealing to a wide range of readers, from amateurs to academics.'

Source: Journal of Field Ornithology

'This book would have made my life easier during graduate school. … even though many review articles and a handful of volumes have attempted to synthesize climate change impacts on birds, a comprehensive and up-to–date reference is needed. This book fills that niche. … The authors also expand on previous works by giving a much more comprehensive treatment of the critical issue of avian range shifts from climate change. They cover more new ground by reviewing the effects of mitigation strategies (e.g., wind energy and tidal and wave power development) on birds. Finally, the comprehensive explanation of predictive modeling methods, including bioclimatic, abundance, and population models, gives a useful introduction to all major methods currently being used to predict climate change impacts on birds. … Overall, I highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the effects of climate change on birds.'

J. Berton C. Harris Source: New Biological Books

'This book, the culmination of six years of hard work, is a masterful review of the scientific evidence that birds remain our most important biological indicators of how species are responding to modern climate change. … In summary, Birds and Climate Change is a comprehensive and thoughtful review of the impacts of modern climate change on bird populations and is essential reading for undergraduate and graduate students, scientists, managers, and policymakers interested in ornithology and bird conservation.'

Benjamin Zuckerberg Source: The Condor: Ornithological Applications

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