IISc. Bengaluru Researchers Unveil Threats to Montane Birds

  • 11 Jan 2024

Recently, scientists at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc.) in Bengaluru have uncovered the perilous impact of logging and climate change on montane birds in tropical mountains.

Key Points

  • Unique Ecosystems at Risk: Tropical montane forests, ranging from 150-200 meters to 3,500 meters in elevation, are crucial biodiversity hubs.
  • The restriction of each species to a specific niche within these ecosystems fosters remarkable diversity in a compact space.
  • Temperature Sensitivity: Birds in tropical mountain ranges, along with much of the local flora and fauna, display high sensitivity to temperature changes induced by global heating.
  • The rapid response to rising temperatures is particularly significant as tropical mountains house a substantial portion of the world's terrestrial biodiversity.
  • Shifts in Elevation: Rising temperatures have prompted many bird species to migrate to higher elevations.
  • The study found that logged forests, characterized by higher temperatures and lower humidity, expedite this transition.
  • Smaller bird species thrive in these conditions, while larger ones concentrate in primary forests.
  • Impact on Understorey Insectivores: The research focused on understorey insectivores, revealing that logging leads to the loss of large-bodied, old, growth-dependent species.
  • The overall biodiversity declines, and these niche-specific birds experience a significant drop in numbers due to reduced resource availability in logged forests.