Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Alabama
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Alabama Project

Climate change in the Southeastern US and its impacts on bird habitats

September 2008 - September 2011


Participating Agencies

  • U.S. Geological Survey

Fish and wildlife agencies are increasingly challenged in responding to a changing climate. Several climate models developed under the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have recently predicted changes in temperature and rainfall patterns throughout much of North America. These changes are expected to cause substantial changes in habitat conditions and thus species distributions. State fish and wildlife agencies will need to respond to a changing climate and incorporate it into their planning efforts. Unfortunately, no models have yet been developed to effectively step down the current suite of Global Circulation Models (GCM) to scales suitable for conservation planning. Only recently have models been tested that provide any degree of certainty for sub-regions of the United States. A more fine-scaled approach to predict climate changes related must be established before effects on animal habitats and populations can be predicted. Such an approach will enable states to make informed, adaptive decisions in their planning for their fishery and wildlife resources. The research proposed here seeks to estimate the rates of historic change in land use-land cover (LULC) in response to changes in climatologic parameters. Map land cover-land use for at least three time periods between 1970 and 2006 using available LandSat TM data based on habitat classes that are important to wildlife conservation. 1. Estimate the rate and uncertainty of transition among habitat classes in relation to climatologic and abiotic factors that govern LULC. MOD 1 Additons 1. Determine the spatial and thematic resolution necessary to estimate the relationships between recent changes in land use and land cover (LULC) and the distribution of bird populations. 2. Estimate historic LULC at decadal intervals between 1970 and 2006 using available Multi-spectral scanner (MSS) and LandSat Thematic Mapper (TM) data at spatial and thematic resolutions that will be useful for conservation of fish and wildlife populations. 3. Estimate rates and uncertainty in historic LULC change at decadal intervals between 1970 and 2006 and their relationship to important climatologic and abiotic factors that govern LULC.