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Climate models predict a severe range contraction and upward shift of suitable habitat for alpine birds

For the period 2041–2060 a substantial reduction of suitable habitats was predicted

Potential breeding distribution areas occupied by each species under current (years 1995–2015) and future (years 2041–2060) climatic conditions

Alpine ecosystems are particularly vulnerable to climate change. For widely distributed alpine specialists, rear-edge populations are disproportionately important. The importance and effects of climatic and landscape variables was assessed for 4 alpine bird species (Pyrrhocorax graculus, Prunella collaris, Montifringilla nivalis, Tichodroma muraria). Results indicate that the habitat suitability of rear-edge alpine specialists is limited mainly by climatic factors, restricting their suitable areas to the highest mountains where cold climate persist. For the period 2041–2060 a substantial reduction of suitable habitats was predicted. Thus, these alpine bird species, currently not considered as threatened, merit a review of their conservation status. Common distribution patterns and potentially similar responses to climatic change suggest that these findings might be applicable for other rear-edge alpine species. This study identified specific mountain systems where research and conservation efforts should focus for the conservation of alpine biodiversity in the southwestern Palearctic.

De Gabriel-Hernando et al (2021) Warming threatens habitat suitability and breeding occupancy of rear-edge alpine bird specialists. ECOGRAPHY