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Conserving temperate montane birds under climate change: an assessment of potential management options

Bellis, J (2018) Conserving temperate montane birds under climate change: an assessment of potential management options. Masters thesis, Liverpool John Moores University.

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Abstract

Montane species are particularly vulnerable to the threats posed by climate change. As temperatures increase, their climatic niche will shift upwards – and species must either adapt to warmer conditions, or migrate to avoid extinction. In the first section of this thesis, I assessed the feasibility of management strategies available to conservation practitioners for conserving montane bird species under climate change. I integrated the dimensions of vulnerability outlined in previous research with management strategies relevant to the conservation of montane birds in order to specify the most appropriate strategy for species that display certain elements of vulnerability. I also outline the specific data and research needs that would allow conservation practitioners to more rigorously assess the management strategy for their focal montane species. It is evident that for some highly specialised species – such as alpine birds that are restricted to habitats above the treeline – conservation practitioners will be more limited in their choice of management approach. Assisted colonisation (AC) has been proposed as a strategy for mountaintop species with nowhere left to go. However, this strategy is reliant on the identification of suitable sites elsewhere. In the second section of this thesis, I focused on the identification and assessment of potential AC sites for European alpine birds. My results highlight the severe threat posed by climate change, with European alpine birds projected to lose 57-80% of their climatically suitable area by 2080. I identified promising AC sites that will sustain suitable conditions under climate change for the majority of species considered. My findings are useful for guiding conservation practitioners to the most suitable AC sites for alpine birds under climate change, as well as for identifying the most suitable source populations for translocating individuals to those sites, the latter of which represents a novel approach.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Climate change; Montane; Alpine; Birds; Assisted colonisation; Translocation; Species Distribution Models; Conservation
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Q Science > QH Natural history
Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions: Natural Sciences and Psychology
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2018 11:49
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2018 11:49
DOI or Identification number: 10.24377/LJMU.t.00007858
Supervisors: Bourke, D, Dalrymple, S and Bowe, C
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/7858

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