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Reduction in wetland areas will affect Afrotropical migratory waterbirds

Study points to need for an integrated approach to fighting impacts of climate change

2021-05-03
(Press-News.org) Migratory waterbirds are particularly exposed to the effects of climate change at their breeding areas in the High Arctic and in Africa, according to a new study published in Bird Conservation International. The research team came to this conclusion after modelling climatic and hydrological conditions under current and future climate scenarios (in 2050) and comparing the impact on the distribution of 197 of the 255 waterbird species listed under the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA). The international team was led by Wetlands International, BirdLife International, and the British Trust for Ornithology, involved researchers from various universities, including McGill. The results suggest that investing more in habitat conservation in the wider landscape, in addition to the conservation of managed protected areas, is urgently needed to help migratory waterbirds adapt to the impacts of climate change.

"Most of the earlier studies in the African-Eurasian flyways focused on the impact of climate change on Palearctic birds," says Frank Breiner, from Wetlands International, who developed the species distribution models. "Our results suggest that Afrotropical species will be even more exposed to the impact of climate change than most species from the temperate zone of the Palearctic. Species breeding in Southern and Eastern Africa, such as the already globally threatened Maccoa Duck and White-winged Flufftail are particularly exposed, but some still common species, such as the Cape Teal and Red-knobbed Coot are projected to suffer a net range loss exceeding 30%. Afrotropical species seem to be more sensitive to the changes in precipitation than Palearctic ones."

Major reductions in freshwater flows and wetlands

"Our models project a variety of changes in the water cycle that will affect the dynamics and extent of wetlands," explains END


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[Press-News.org] Reduction in wetland areas will affect Afrotropical migratory waterbirds
Study points to need for an integrated approach to fighting impacts of climate change