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Monday, April 9 • 11:30am - 11:45am
SYMPOSIA-01: Global Reduction in Greenhouse Gas Emissions Diminishes Climate Change Vulnerability of Grassland Birds

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AUTHORS: Chad Wilsey*, Lotem Taylor – National Audubon Society; Arvind Pinjabi, Bird Conservancy of the Rockies; Caitlin Jensen, Gary M. Langham – National Audubon Society

ABSTRACT: For more than 40 years, grassland birds in North America have been in decline due largely to land conversion. Recent landcover change analyses show that high rates of grassland conversion continue in part due to energy policy and that conversion is highest in portions of the Midwest. In addition, the highest climate change velocities in North American are predicted to occur in the Great Plains, making climate change an emerging threat to this already imperiled group. We assessed that threat using a model-based, climate change vulnerability assessment of 35 grassland bird species under greenhouse gas reduction commitments in the Paris Agreement. We found that 63% of North American grassland bird species have moderate to high vulnerability to climate change under the Agreement, but that this could be reduced to 40% with further emissions reductions. We further explore the vulnerability of a subset of species with significant proportions of their population occurring in the Midwest and identify similar rates of regional vulnerability. Therefore, continued policy actions to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions are urgently needed to protect grassland birds in addition to the reversal of energy policies that promotes grasslands conversion for biofuel production.

Monday April 9, 2018 11:30am - 11:45am CDT
Hancock Parlor

Attendees (6)