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Spatio-temporal perspectives on the effects of land use change on two common bird species: the past, present and future
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Land-use change is a main driver of habitat loss and a force that can utterly alter landscapes. During the last 100 years the agricultural landscape of Northern Europe has been transformed by intensification of forestry, extensively effecting biodiversity. In this study we utilize historical maps to investigate the effect of 100 years of land use change on the availability of potential territories for the two most common bird species in Sweden, the willow warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus) and the chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs). In addition, we used the species’ habitat preferences to construct a future scenario and estimated how increased fibre and timber demands and climate change could shape territory availability further. The results suggest that the decrease in forest grazing and landscape heterogeneity that has occurred between 1900-2013 have negatively affected the willow warbler, whereas the chaffinch has benefitted by the increase in forest cover but lost living space because of the decrease in heterogeneity. In the future scenario, the climate-induced augmented turn-over rate of forest harvesting cause an increase in early succession forest, creating habitat for both species. However, this future entails an even greater loss of heterogeneity and if this negative effect is to be hindered, the most preferred habitats by the two species must be promoted. These most preferred habitats are also associated with high biodiversity. Thus, conservation of preferred habitats will promote both the two common study species and also generate benefits for biodiversity, exemplifying how common, more easily-monitored species can be utilized in conservation. Additionally, by considering past land use changes and current population status, the response by the two species to alterations in the landscape is better understood and future resilience to land use change easier anticipated.

National Category
Biological Sciences
Research subject
Ethology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-120534OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-120534DiVA: diva2:853173
Available from: 2015-09-11 Created: 2015-09-11 Last updated: 2016-01-29Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Climate change effects on migratory birds and on the ecology and behaviour of the willow warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus)
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Climate change effects on migratory birds and on the ecology and behaviour of the willow warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus)
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Recent global climate change is influencing the behaviour and ecology of species worldwide. Birds are typical systems to study in this context, as they are often migratory and thus subjected to a variety of environmental effects. This thesis employs the use of long-term ringing records, field observations, historical maps and historical volunteer observations with the aim of describing behavioural and ecological responses of birds to the current environmental change. An investigation into the spring arrival, reproduction and autumn departure in willow warblers (Phylloscopus trochilus) breeding at a southern study site in Sweden (65°N 18°E) showed that all three phenological events had advanced in parallel. Thus birds arrive earlier, start breeding earlier and leave Sweden earlier, with the breeding period staying the same in length. By teasing apart the migratory responses of different individuals, it became clear that particularly early arriving males and early departing juveniles had advanced migration. However, willow warblers migrating past a northern study site in Sweden (65°N 23°E) displayed no change in autumn departure. When migration in the two regionally separate populations were analyzed in relation to climatic variables, the results indicated that foremost a combined effect of growing season onset and the North Atlantic Oscillation influenced migratory timing, and only in individuals that had advanced migration. As growing season onset had advanced at both regions, but only elicited migratory change in southern willow warblers, it is proposed that intra-specific difference between populations prepare them differently to climate change. Willow warblers breeding at northern latitudes were also displaying absence of an otherwise common behaviour of the species: philopatry. It is suggested that the climate induced change in onset of the growing season, coupled with an increase in available territories, could have enabled a southern influx of dispersal-prone birds adopting a less philopatric breeding behaviour. Availability of territories was also studied in southern Sweden, in relation to 100 years of land use change and future climate change effects on forestry. The mass-conversion of grazed forest into coniferous sylvicultures that has occurred in Sweden 1900-2013 was shown to have negatively affected territory availability for willow warblers. The second most common bird species in Sweden, the chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs), was however shown to be largely unaffected. In a future scenario where rising temperatures will increase growth rates of trees, harvest rotation will be faster and both sylvicultures and logged areas will increase in coverage, favouring both species. Thus commonness in terms of landscape and species occurrence has altered historically and is dynamically linked. Historic perspectives were also applied to observations of spring arrival of 14 migratory bird species. A relative comparison of two data sets, collected over 140 years, revealed that short-distance migrants have changed their spring arrival more than long-distance migrants in southern Sweden. In conclusion, the results of this thesis provide insights into climate change effects on avian behaviour and ecology, document unique observations and contribute with a great spectrum of knowledge, from exact details on responses by individual birds, through long-term changes in populations to historical perspectives on shifts in entire landscapes

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Zoology, Stockholm University, 2015. 121 p.
Keyword
climate change, bird migration, ecology, phenology, bird, avian, willow warbler, chaffinch, land use change, landscape ecology, historical ecology
National Category
Zoology
Research subject
Ethology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-120409 (URN)978-91-7649-256-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-10-23, Nordenskiöldsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 12, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: Manuscript. Paper 3: Manuscript. Paper 4: Manuscript.

Available from: 2015-10-01 Created: 2015-09-09 Last updated: 2016-01-29Bibliographically approved

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