Human footprint has changed Colombian bird distributions

Forest-dwelling species in the country seemed increasingly impacted

Using satellite mapping data, researchers found that forest-dwelling birds in Colombia that used to occupy pristine habitats are at increased risk from deforestation. The researchers used data from 1970 to 2018 to determine how the human footprint has overlapped with distributions of 1,468 Colombian bird species. Then, they projected changes in bird habitat through 2030. Overall, the team found that for 69 birds, the human footprint had increased in more than 50% of the species distribution, 19 of which were not yet listed as threatened in the country. Two of those species included the sooty ant tanager (Habia gutturalis) and the Venezuelan troupial (Icterus icterus). “I hope that this study can serve as an early warning,” said Natalia Ocampo-Peñuela, an assistant professor of environmental studies at UC Santa Cruz. “This is a way to use remote-sensing data to propose which species we may need to focus our efforts on, in terms of reevaluating their conservation status.”

Read the study in Environmental Research Letters.

Header Image: Sooty ant tanagers live in habitats that overlap with human disturbance. Credit: Adaptivity77