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State of the Birds Report

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Climate Change and other Stressors

White-tailed Tropicbird by Elena Babij

Ecosystems are currently under pressure from a number of stressors in addition to climate change, including habitat loss and degradation, development, pollution, toxic chemicals, overfishing, invasive species, pests, disease outbreaks, habitat fragmentation, and wildfires.

Climate change may interact with and amplify many of these existing stressors. As a result, birds and habitats that are already stressed may be highly vulnerable to additional impacts due to climate change.

Climate change will add to other existing stressors by:

• Altering habitats, allowing for the increase of invasive species. As invasive species expand, they can outcompete native species, leading to the reduction or loss of native plants and wildlife.

Photo by Erin Macchia

• Spreading disease. Distribution of disease patterns and changes in wildlife occurrence will affect the transmission of diseases. It is also expected that infectious diseases will emerge more frequently and in new areas due to climate change.

• Exacerbating the impacts of storm-surge flooding and shoreline erosion. Increasingly developed coastal communities and rising sea level will limit potential habitat for coastal birds.

• Changing the distribution and availability of surface and ground water. Climate change will constrain water resources, further increasing competition among agricultural, municipal, industrial, and wildlife uses.



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