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Wednesday, 4 December 2013

'Common montane birds are declining in northern Europe' from Journal of Avian Biology 02 Dec 2013

Common montane birds are declining in northern Europe.


    Aleksi Lehikoinen, Martin Green, Magne Husby, John Atle Kalas, Ake Lindstrom.
Citation: Lehikoinen, A., Green, M., Husby, M., Kålås, J. A. and Lindström, Å. (2013), Common montane birds are declining in northern Europe. Journal of Avian Biology. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-048X.2013.00177.x


Human activities, including climate change, are gradually modifying our environment. Knowledge about such effects on fauna and flora is crucial for the development of conservation strategies to minimize the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Alpine and arctic habitats are expected to be particularly vulnerable to climate change. The Fennoscandian montane bird indicator presented here gives basic information about faunistic changes in one of the most extreme climatic environments of Europe covering two different habitat types: tundra and birch forest. As such, this indicator can fill an important gap among the already existing continental-wide bird indicators for farmland, forest, climate change, and the several regional European bird indicators produced by the European Bird Census Council. As far as we know, this may be the first large-scale indicator for alpine birds. If the new schemes that started in 2005 and 2006 will continue as planned, data will be available for a high number of sampling sites (about 400) in the coming years. This probably means that data for a few typical montane breeding bird species additional to those included here can be added to the indicator. The indicator presented here suggests that Fennoscandian montane birds have declined substantially during the last 11 yr, which is in line with the predictions based on climatic forecasting suggesting that montane species in Fennoscandia will likely show declining population sizes and reduced range sizes in the future. The fact that long-distance migratory species do not stand out as particularly affected suggests that the main reasons for the decline may be found within the Fennoscandian mountain range itself.
Birds Studied
Willow Ptarmigan, Rock Ptarmigan, Golden Plover, Long-tailed Skua, Meadow Pipit, Bluethroat, Common Redstart, Common Wheatear,  Redwing, Willow Warbler, Brambling, Common Redpoll, Lapland Bunting, Snow Bunting.
Study Site Locations: 420 bird monitoring sites in the Fennoscandian mountain range. Black dots are sites with data for at least two years and therefore included in the present study (n = 262). White dots indicate newly established monitoring sites that have not yet been surveyed twice.

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