Global change impacts on bird biodiversity in South Asia: potential effects of future land-use and climate change on avian species richness in Pakistan

Khaliq, Imran; Biber, Matthias; Bowler, Diana E. ORCID:; Hof, Christian. 2023 Global change impacts on bird biodiversity in South Asia: potential effects of future land-use and climate change on avian species richness in Pakistan. PeerJ, 11, e16212. 19, pp.

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Evaluating the impact of future changes in land-use and climate on species communities, especially species richness, is one of the most important challenges of current research in ecology and conservation. The impact of environmental changes on species richness depends on its sensitivity (i.e., how strongly a given level of change influences the ecological community) and its exposure (i.e., the amount of change that occurs). To examine the sensitivity, exposure, and potential impact of future environmental conditions on bird communities, we compiled data on bird species richness for Pakistan—a neglected region in macro- or country-scale studies. Since bird species richness strongly varies across seasons due to the seasonal occurrence of migratory species in winter, we compared both wintering (migratory plus resident species) and breeding (resident species only) bird richness. We found breeding and wintering species richness to be sensitive to temperature, precipitation and rainfed cropland by being positively related to these factors. Exposure varied regionally, with projected temperature changes being most profound in northern regions while the strongest projected precipitation changes occurred in central and southern regions. The projected impact of future environmental change were highly heterogeneous across the country and differed between the wintering and breeding communities. Overall, the most negatively impacted region was projected to be the Khyber Pakhtunkha province in the North of Pakistan, due to reductions in precipitation and rainfed cropland, resulting in a projected negative impact, especially on wintering species richness. By highlighting the regional and seasonal bird communities most at risk, our findings provide useful information for policy makers to help devise new policies for mitigating negative impacts of future environmental changes on birds within Pakistan.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Biodiversity (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 2167-8359
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: species richness, birds, climate change, land-use, Pakistan
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 10 Nov 2023 08:52 +0 (UTC)

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