It is crucial to define and quantify possible impacts of climate change on wildlife in order to be able to pre-adapt management strategies for nature conservation. Thus, it is necessary to assess which species might be affected by climatic changes, especially at the regional scale. We present a novel approach to estimate possible climate change induced turnovers in bird communities and apply this method to Lüneburg Heath, a region in northern Germany. By comparing species pools of future climatically analogous regions situated in France with the Lüneburg Heath species pool, we detected possible trends for alterations within the regional bird community in the course of climate change. These analyses showed that the majority of bird species in Lüneburg Heath will probably be able to tolerate the projected future climate conditions, but that bird species richness, in general, may decline. Species that might leave the community were often significantly associated with inland wetland habitats, but the proportion of inland wetlands within the regions had a significant influence on the magnitude of this effect. Our results suggest that conservation efforts in wetlands have to be strengthened in light of climate change because many species are, in principle, able to tolerate future climate conditions if sufficient habitat is available.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited