This project falls under Theme 3.0 'Sustainable Forest Management Indicators, Targets, and Monitoring Systems', and addresses Topic 3.1 'Indicators and monitoring systems'. The overall objective of this research is to identify climate-change impacts on bird communities in British Columbia that will be critical to appropriate application of sustainable management indicators and monitoring systems. Our specific objectives are to: 1. Identify how climate has historically affected bird abundance, distribution, and phenology; 2. Identify how climate has historically affected bird assemblages and co-occurrences; 3. Project bird abundance, distribution and phenology for likely climate change scenarios, and identify implications for sustainable forest management 4. Provide recommendations on how climate-induced changes in bird communities would affect sustainable forest management, including the use of avian indicators in monitoring systems. Project results will be critically important to indicators and monitoring systems because bird species are widely being considered as sustainability indicators in forest monitoring programs (Bunnell et al. 2003). However, the value of certain indicators may collapse if interspecific interactions are altered by a changing climate (Davis et al. 1998). Results on the co-occurrence of bird species under climate change scenarios will inform researchers and monitoring initiatives of the appropriateness of using certain avian sustainable indicators. It is invalid to assume that species assemblages and hence indicator species being identified today will not change over time if climate change alters species interactions. This project will further benefit sustainable forest management by providing the baseline ecological information and knowledge that are needed to implement an effective monitoring program. Additionally, results from this study will help to identify potentially negative climate-change impacts that will be superimposed on and confound forestry effects. As noted in the SPRRT document, indicators must provide unambiguous information about responses to forest management. It is critical that forest managers do not select or evaluate misleading indicators of forest sustainability that are being primarily affected by other factors, such as climate change. This research is being conducted using a hindcasting approach with historical bird data from CWS, the USFW, and newly digitized data from the Wildlife Data Centre. Non-digital bird data from the Wildlife Data Centre span the entire province and date back to the late 1880s. Analyses in the first year (2004-05) focuses on identifying broad relationships between climate and birds in BC?s boreal forest. In Year 2 of this project (2005-06), the project will be expanded from the limited data in BC?s boreal forest to include data from elsewhere in the province and in the boreal forests outside BC. Additionally, more sophisticated data analyses will be used to quantify historical climate effects on birds, and projections will be made on likely scenarios of future climate conditions. We will generate scenario constructions that had been developed in accordance with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which means our construction scenarios will be nationally consistent with other impact studies, thereby facilitating comparative analyses and future linkages. In Year 3 of this project (2006-07), we will apply our models relating bird parameters and environmental conditions to future climate change scenarios generated in Year 2.
Chan-McLeod, Ann. 2007. Effects of Climate Change on Avian Communities and Implications for Sustainable Forest Management. Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program. Forest Investment Account Report. FIA2007MR361