Dec. 19, 2012 — Although climate change may alter the distributions of many species, changes in land use may compound these effects. Now, a new study by PRBO Conservation Science (PRBO) researcher Dennis Jongsomjit and colleagues suggests that the effects of future housing development may be as great or greater than those of climate change for many bird species. In fact, some species projected to expand their distributions with climate change may actually lose ground when future development is brought into the picture.
The study, "Between a rock and a hard place: The impacts of climate change and housing development on breeding birds in California," appears online in the journal Landscape Ecology.
Conservationists have long known that changing land use and development may pose a major threat to wildlife through habitat loss and degradation. Yet, many recent studies have focused solely on how the changing climate will impact species. It is now clear that focusing on only one of these threats may underestimate the actual risk to species from future environmental changes.