Bird response to future climate and forest management focused on mitigating climate change

Jaymi J. LeBrun, Jeffrey E. Schneiderman, Frank R. Thompson, William D. Dijak, Jacob S. Fraser, Hong S. He, Joshua J. Millspaugh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Context: Global temperatures are projected to increase and affect forests and wildlife populations. Forest management can potentially mitigate climate-induced changes through promoting carbon sequestration, forest resilience, and facilitated change. Objectives: We modeled direct and indirect effects of climate change on avian abundance through changes in forest landscapes and assessed impacts on bird abundances of forest management strategies designed to mitigate climate change effects. Methods: We coupled a Bayesian hierarchical model with a spatially explicit landscape simulation model (LANDIS PRO) to predict avian relative abundance. We considered multiple climate scenarios and forest management scenarios focused on carbon sequestration, forest resilience, and facilitated change over 100 years. Results: Management had a greater impact on avian abundance (almost 50% change under some scenarios) than climate (<3% change) and only early successional and coniferous forest showed significant change in percent cover across time. The northern bobwhite was the only species that changed in abundance due to climate-induced changes in vegetation. Northern bobwhite, prairie warbler, and blue-winged warbler generally increased in response to warming temperatures but prairie warbler exhibited a non-linear response and began to decline as summer maximum temperatures exceeded 36 °C at the end of the century. Conclusion: Linking empirical models with process-based landscape change models can be an effective way to predict climate change and management impacts on wildlife, but time frames greater than 100 years may be required to see climate related effects. We suggest that future research carefully consider species-specific effects and interactions between management and climate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1433-1446
Number of pages14
JournalLandscape Ecology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017


  • Avian abundance
  • Climate change
  • Ecosystem process based model
  • Empirical model
  • Forest landscape change model
  • Forest management


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