Climate change and biotic diversity at next HCLT Village Nature Series

There has been a lot of controversy over whether or not “climate change” is real. Here in the mountains of western NC, we are only just now seeing some real changes with later autumns, earlier summers, and record rainfalls, both high and low.

These shifts in climate can have subtle impacts on our biotic diversity. For example, the early warm temperatures may cause the early emergence of short-lived insects that are the energy rich prey items our breeding birds depend upon.

If the insects emerge early, they may be gone before migrating breeding birds show up. That could translate to hungry baby birds and poor survival rates. Couple this with habitat destruction both here and where the birds overwinter, and it could result in a reduced number of birds.

The Plateau is a popular location for birding enthusiasts throughout the country. Read more about Birding on the Plateau HERE.

For over 100 years, the National Audubon Society has focused on making the world a better place for birds. In 2014, they released a Birds and Climate Change Report.

The report established that shrinking and shifting ranges due to the changing climate could imperil more than half of the 588 species of North America breeding birds involved in the study – within this century. This seven-year science investigation, made possible by decades of community-science data, sounded an alarm that made news around the world.

In early October of 2019, National Audubon released a follow-up report – Survival by Degrees – that paints an even more challenging situation for birds if the world does not take action to reduce global warming.

To learn more about this study and actions that individuals can take to help birds, join Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust and The Village Green on Tuesday, July 28 at 5 p.m. for the next virtual Village Nature Series program, Survival by Degrees- The Impact of Climate Change on Birds.

The Kelsey Trail Preserve is one of the many properties conserved and maintained by the Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust. The Kelsey Trail Preserve trailhead is located at the end of 5th Street in Highlands.

Our July program will be presented by Tom Tribble, who served six years as President and is now Immediate Past President of Elisha Mitchell Audubon Society, the local Audubon chapter that covers Buncombe, Henderson, Madison and several adjacent counties in western NC.

Tom has been an Audubon member and avid birder for 45 years and worked for 30 years at the NC Center for Geographic Information & Analysis.  For a link to join this free Zoom presentation, email  Thank you to Cedar Creek Club for being our 2020 Village Nature Series sponsor.

Article courtesy of the Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust

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