Pacific Northwest Climate Prioritization for Bird Species of Greatest Conservation Need
Prioritization of current and future climate-suitable range for bird Species of Greatest Conservation Need in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington
Schuetz, J. G., G. M. Langham, C. U. Soykan, C. B. Wilsey, T. Auer, and C. C. Sanchez. 2015. Making spatial prioritizations robust to climate change uncertainties: a case study with North American birds. Ecological Applications 25:1819–1831.
Species: Bobolink; Brown Pelican; Burrowing Owl; Common Loon; Common Nighthawk; Ferruginous Hawk; Franklin's Gull; Grasshopper Sparrow; Horned Lark; Loggerhead Shrike; Long-billed Curlew; Marbled Murrelet; Mountain Quail; Olive-sided Flycatcher; Purple Martin; Red-necked Grebe; Sage Sparrow; Sage Thrasher; Sharp-tailed Grouse; Upland Sandpiper; Vesper Sparrow; Western Bluebird; White-breasted Nuthatch; White-headed Woodpecker; Yellow-billed Cuckoo; Great Gray Owl; Greater Sage-Grouse Seasons: Summer; based on Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) data, and winter; based on Christmas Bird Count (CBC) data Background: In completing its climate-impacts analysis for North American birds, Audubon has generated numerous maps of projected climate [...]
Summer; based on Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) data, and winter; based on Christmas Bird Count (CBC) data
In completing its climate-impacts analysis for North American birds, Audubon has generated numerous maps of projected climate suitability under a range of future time periods and greenhouse gas emission scenarios. Here, we outline how these projections can be synthesized into landscape prioritization maps for individual or multiple species. Critical to this process is the treatment of uncertainty across climate-impacts projections. Sources of uncertainty include the emissions scenario considered (SRES B2, A1B, A2), variability among global circulation models (GCMs), and variation across future time periods (2020, 2050, 2080). In addition, there are biological uncertainties, because we cannot be certain how species will respond to future climate change even though we have carefully modeled their historical responses
We identified three views on biological uncertainty and explored the implications of adopting these views. First, a species might track and move with its shifting area of climatic suitability. Second, a species may be unable to move and must suffer in place with whatever climatically suitable area remains. Finally, species may be more plastic than we suspect and be able to adapt in place to a changing climate. Highly mobile and flexible species form a fourth group whose potential responses including all of the above.
We generate both single species prioritizations for 588 North American bird species and a multi-species prioritizations for assemblages of species. Single and multi-species prioritizations were generated using Zonation spatial prioritization software. In a single-species prioritization, Zonation ranks each 10 x 10 km pixel based on its contribution towards protecting a species’ current and future climate-suitable range. Biological uncertainty is captured in the prioritization by treating a future climate-suitable range as (1) opportunity, (2) risk, and (3) ignoring it. These correspond to the biological responses: “track and move”, “suffer in place”, and “adapt in place”, respectively. Three prioritizations are built for each season (summer and winter) and then results of all prioritizations within a season are combined into two ensembles by taking the maximum score for any pixel across all prioritizations in that season and rescaling the result between zero and 1. We then trim the prioritization, removing grid cells with low climatic suitability in the present and future, setting their values to zero.
With multiple species, Zonation highlights areas with climates that will allow for conservation of many species (especially rare ones) into the future. For this reason, when working with a group of species (e.g. grassland birds), it is critical to build a multi-species prioritization rather than summing or averaging across the single-species prioritizations for each group member. Multi-species prioritizations are also trimmed by removing grid cells with low climatic suitability across all species in the assemblage, setting their values to zero.
This spatial prioritization for the US and Canada ranks the landscape according to the relative value of each 10 x 10 km pixel for conserving a single species or assemblage of species now and in the future. Prioritizations are useful for identifying where conservation actions can benefit birds the most.