Predicted Responses of Birds and Mammals

Changes in plant species are mirrored by possible changes in mammals and bird species. Bioclimatic envelopes will be developed for mammal and bird species based on field measurements and existing literature on ranges of species in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan in relation to temperature and moisture regimes. We will use these envelopes to predict range changes in response to different downscaled GCM scenarios through the end of the 21st Century. We will also identify those mammal and bird species where predicted ranges based on bioclimatic envelopes may be out of phase with required habitat components. We will then validate the bioclimatic envelopes with existing data sets on trees, mammals, and birds from 1990 – 2012.

Based on species ranges, we estimated that there are about 25 boreal/northern mammal species in the seven NPS units that will likely disappear or be forced into thermal refugia due to climate change, about 25 southern mammal species that could move into the parks, and about 30 mammal species that would be in parks both before and after climate change. Similarly, 20% of current summer resident bird species could disappear in the future. One projection has over 30 summer resident bird species disappearing in Minnesota under some climate change scenarios, with other (prairie/savanna) species expanding their summer range (Price 2002). These changes are already occurring in mammals from mice to moose in the western Great Lakes region (Jannett 2007, Myers 2009, Lenarz et al. 2010).