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Title Predicting Tropical Bird Diversity in Response to Climate Change: Are Woody Plants a Lag Factor?

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Short title Climate Change and Tropical Bird Diversity

Author(s) Kissling, W.D.(1); Field, R.(2); Korntheuer, H.(1); Heyder, U.(3); Böhning-Gaese, K.(1)

Presenting author Böhning-Gaese, K.

Institution(s) (1) Institute of Zoology, University of Mainz; (2) School of Geography, University of Nottingham, UK; (3) Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

Keywords biodiversity hotspots; dispersal; ensemble forecasting; predictive models; uncertainty

Abstract Many recent attempts to forecast biodiversity losses under climate change employ climate-envelop models to quantify the relationship between species distributions and climate variables, but it is unclear whether they accurately predict impacts on biodiversity since they assume little importance of species interactions. Using distribution data on 1,005 terrestrial bird and 1,417 woody plant species in Kenya, we show that predictions of bird diversity in response to climate change are severely affected by interactions with woody plants. Across six climate change scenarios, models based only on climate predict an increase in bird diversity (27 ± 59 species) whereas models including present-day diversity patterns of woody plants predict bird diversity losses (-48 ± 8). Models including modeled future patterns of woody plant diversity predict strong increases (53 ± 64 bird species), stronger than purely climate-based models. Regardless of the model, hotspots of bird diversity are likely to be found in the same geographical areas, and conservation efforts in these areas may reduce biodiversity losses. Our results suggest that future patterns of tropical bird diversity will depend on the response of the plant community to climate change, and that species interactions need to be included in climate-envelop models to accurately predict biodiversity consequences.

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