Connecting and enhancing healthy habitats in the wider landscape is helping species to adapt
With climate change forcing many species to shift their distributions, improving connectivity among key sites and policy responses to make the wider countryside more biodiversity-friendly are helping species to cope with climate change. Targeted interventions, however, will be needed for some species, such as captive breeding and, potentially, assisted colonization.
Enhancing habitat corridors allows species to move among key sites
The benefit of habitat corridors varies greatly among bird species and ecosystems, with habitat generalists typically benefiting more from this approach than specialists. If the corridors retain good quality habitat, networks of connected linear habitat, such as riparian forest corridors in the Brazilian Amazon, have been found to benefit woodland bird species. Generally, studies for tropical forest songbirds suggest that corridors are most effective if at least half of the landscape remains forested.
Creating stepping stone habitat patches may aid range expansion
Vogelbescherming Nederland (BirdLife in the Netherlands) is working with the Dutch government on a national strategy–the Dutch Ecological Network–to link wetlands and other habitats together across the country. This will facilitate the movement of species and increase ecological resilience, which will become essential as climate change shifts species ranges.
Managing the matrix of suitable habitat among key sites will aid movement of species
Uncropped agricultural land has been shown to benefit declining farmland birds in the UK. Farms containing only 3-5% of uncropped land supporting much lower densities than farms with more than 10% of uncropped land. Increased persistence of populations outside of protected areas will be important in facilitating climate-induced range expansion.
Assisting colonisation will help African Penguin populations impacted by climate change
African Penguin (Spheniscus demersus) in South Africa occurs in two populations separated by 600 km. Climate-induced shifts in fish stocks are partly responsible for dramatic declines in numbers in western colonies. Plans are underway to create a new mainland colony between the two populations and increase the species’ resilience to further impacts. This will involve protection from predators, nest boxes, deployment of decoys, and translocation of juveniles.