Finland's nature conservation areas unable to sustain forest bird species in future

May 27, 2013
Red-breasted Flycatcher (Ficedula parva) lives in old forests that are in natural state. © Jorma Tenovuo

The existing network of nature conservation areas in Finland will be unable to ensure sufficient amount of habitats for our forest bird species as climate change progresses. The precious bird species of open mires and marshlands, on the other hand, will be better safeguarded by the network also in the years to come. These are the findings of a recent study conducted by the Finnish Environment Institute SYKE.

The study is ground-breaking because it is one of the first to also take into account the habitat available for the species studied, in addition to studying the changes to areas that have favourable climatic conditions for the species.

Conservation needs of species change in line with the climate

According to the research results, Finland's area network has sufficient capacity to safeguard those of conservation concern living in open mire and marshland areas as change progresses. "For forest bird species, the situation looks more worrying. At present, areas designated for nature conservation only contain a very small proportion of the habitats of forest bird species. This means that Finnish forest bird species are at risk", explains Raimo Virkkala, Leading Researcher, SYKE.

A network of nature conservation areas is one of the key methods for preserving the diversity of species as progresses. Due to global warming, species ranges move towards the north, causing changes to the conservation status of species.

Northern species at risk of extinction

Finland's largest areas are located in the northern boreal zone in Northern Lapland. Based on the study, the significance of the conservation area network in preserving forest bird species in the northern boreal zone varies according to which climate scenario is used in foresight. The stronger the impact of climate change, the better the network will be able to safeguard forest bird species. This is possible because more and more southern species can move to the vast of Northern Lapland. On the other hand, if the climate becomes much warmer in the future, northern species have the highest risk of extinction.

The study evaluated the coverage of Finland's nature conservation area network from the perspective of bird species of nature conservation concern in light of three climate scenarios, which all extend close to the end of the century but have different levels of impact. One hundred bird species of conservation concern living in forests, open mires, marshlands and Arctic mountain habitats were included in the study, the distribution areas of which were predicted for the period 2051-2080 on the basis of different climate scenarios.

Explore further: Diabetes drug found in freshwater is a potential cause of intersex fish

More information: Virkkala, R., Heikkinen, R. K., Fronzek, S. & Leikola, N. 2013: Climate change, northern birds of conservation concern and matching the hotspots of habitat suitability with the reserve network. PLOS ONE 8(5): e63376. www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0063376

Related Stories

Birds may need a hand to weather climate change

Feb 04, 2013

A new study led by Durham University and BirdLife International, shows that many bird species are likely to suffer under future climate change, and will require enhanced protection of important sites, better ...

Recommended for you

Algae invade amphibian egg masses

Apr 24, 2015

The establishment of symbiotic systems requires one organism to live in or on a host. For some North American amphibians, these symbionts are algae and they associate with their aquatic egg masses. Researchers have begun ...

Biodiversity promotes multitasking in ecosystems

Apr 24, 2015

A new study of the complex interplay between organisms and their environment shows that biodiversity—the variety of organisms living on Earth—is even more important to the healthy functioning of ecosystems ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

deatopmg
1 / 5 (6) May 27, 2013
Not a problem then if there is no "climate change" a.k.a. catastrophic global warming. So, doom and gloom is not necessary because it doesn't appear to be in the cards, and the data.
No more grant money for Virkkala et al.
Neinsense99
3.7 / 5 (6) Jun 08, 2013
Not a problem then if there is no "climate change" a.k.a. catastrophic global warming. So, doom and gloom is not necessary because it doesn't appear to be in the cards, and the data.
No more grant money for Virkkala et al.

Your opinion has little to do with research or data.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.