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Can changes in the distributions of resident birds in China over the past 50 years be attributed to climate change?


ABSTRACT: The distributions of bird species have changed over the past 50 years in China. To evaluate whether the changes can be attributed to the changing climate, we analyzed the distributions of 20 subspecies of resident birds in relation to climate change. Long-term records of bird distributions, gray relational analysis, fuzzy-set classification techniques, and attribution methods were used. Among the 20 subspecies of resident birds, the northern limits of over half of the subspecies have shifted northward since the 1960s, and most changes have been related to the thermal index. Driven by climate change over the past 50 years, the suitable range and latitude or longitude of the distribution centers of certain birds have exhibited increased fluctuations. The northern boundaries of over half of the subspecies have shifted northward compared with those in the 1960s. The consistency between the observed and predicted changes in the range limits was quite high for some subspecies. The changes in the northern boundaries or the latitudes of the centers of distribution of nearly half of the subspecies can be attributed to climate change. The results suggest that climate change has affected the distributions of particular birds. The method used to attribute changes in bird distributions to climate change may also be effective for other animals.

SUBMITTER: Wu J 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC4461423 | BioStudies | 2015-01-01T00:00:00Z

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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