Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): Joseph M. Northrup; James W. Rivers; Zhiqiang Yang; Matthew G. Betts
    Date: 2019
    Source: Global Change Biology. 25: 1561-1575.
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (1.0 MB)


    Climate and land‐use changes are expected to be the primary drivers of future global biodiversity loss. Although theory suggests that these factors impact species synergistically, past studies have either focused on only one in isolation or have substituted space for time, which often results in confounding between drivers. Tests of synergistic effects require congruent time series on animal populations, climate change and land‐use change replicated across landscapes that span the gradient of correlations between the drivers of change. Using a unique time series of high‐resolution climate (measured as temperature and precipitation) and land‐use change (measured as forest change) data, we show that these drivers of global change act synergistically to influence forest bird population declines over 29 years in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. Nearly half of the species examined had declined over this time. Populations declined most in response to loss of early seral and mature forest, with responses to loss of early seral forest amplified in landscapes that had warmed over time. In addition, birds declined more in response to loss of mature forest in areas that had dried over time. Climate change did not appear to impact populations in landscapes with limited habitat loss, except when those landscapes were initially warmer than the average landscape. Our results provide some of the first empirical evidence of synergistic effects of climate and land‐use change on animal population dynamics, suggesting accelerated loss of biodiversity in areas under pressure from multiple global change drivers. Furthermore, our findings suggest strong spatial variability in the impacts of climate change and highlight the need for future studies to evaluate multiple drivers simultaneously to avoid potential misattribution of effects.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Northrup, Joseph M.; Rivers, James W.; Yang, Zhiqiang; Betts, Matthew G. 2019. Synergistic effects of climate and land‐use change influence broad‐scale avian population declines. Global Change Biology. 25: 1561-1575.


    Google Scholar


    Bayesian hierarchical model, Breeding Bird Survey, climate change, habitat loss, land‐use change, synergistic effects

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page