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Climate change affecting Europe's birds now, say researchers
Date:3/3/2009

Climate change is already having a detectable impact on birds across Europe, says a Durham University and RSPB-led scientific team publishing their findings to create the world's first indicator of the climate change impacts on wildlife at a continental scale.

Published in the journal PLoS ONE, Durham University scientists working with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds have shown a strong link between recent population changes of individual species and their projected future range changes, associated with climate change, among a number of widespread and common European birds, including the goldfinch and the lesser spotted woodpecker.

By pulling together Europe-wide monitoring data, the team has compiled an indicator showing how climate change is affecting wildlife across Europe. The European Union has adopted the indicator as an official measure of the impacts of climate change on the continent's wildlife; the first indicator of its kind.

The paper and the indicator were produced by a team of scientists from the RSPB, Durham University, Cambridge University, the European Bird Census Council, the Musum National d'Histoire Naturelle, the Czech Society for Ornithology, and Statistics Netherlands. European population data for birds was compiled by The Pan-European Common Bird Monitoring Scheme (PECBMS), a partnership involving the European Bird Census Council (EBCC), the RSPB, BirdLife International, and Statistics Netherlands funded by the RSPB and the European Commission

Dr Stephen Willis, of Durham University, said: "The impact of climatic changes, both positive and negative, can now be summarised in a single indicator which we've called the Climatic Impact Indicator. A period of stable annual average temperatures in Europe ended in the early 1980s, and this new Indicator shows that climate change is affecting many species but in different ways. Climate change is having an adverse effect on many birds, thoug
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Contact: Carl Stiansen
c.r.stiansen@durham.ac.uk
44-191-334-6077
Durham University
Source:Eurekalert

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