Revising vulnerability assessments of montane birds in the colombian páramo to account for threats from climate change

Christopher J. Wheatley, Colin M. Beale, Piran C.L. White, Adrián Villaseñor, Adriana Sanchez, Charles A. Cunningham, Jane K. Hill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Tropical montane ecosystems are highly vulnerable to global climate change, but their species-level conservation vulnerability assessments generally do not incorporate climate threats. The Colombian páramo is a highly diverse montane ecosystem but it contains relatively few species currently identified as threatened on the IUCN Red List. We explore whether current assessments need revising to account for climate change threats for páramo species. We use a climate change vulnerability assessment framework to evaluate the risks and opportunities from climate change for 60 bird species within the Colombian páramo. We explore two potential climate change scenarios (RCP 2.6 and RCP 8.5), representing best and worst-case projections. We find that more than half (52–68%, depending on the scenario) of bird species will be threatened by climate change by the end of the century, but a very poor agreement between the current conservation status of species and their climate vulnerability score. We find ~ 90% of species identified as climate-threatened are not currently identified as being of conservation concern, representing a substantial new suite of priority species within the Colombian páramo. Overall, we identify up to 34 páramo bird species that are threatened by climate change but not currently listed as being of conservation concern. Similar mismatches may also occur in other montane taxa and so updating species risk assessments to account for climate change is urgently needed. Implementation of appropriate conservation actions is also needed to reduce species’ risks from climate change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4371-4386
Number of pages16
JournalBiodiversity and Conservation
Issue number13
StatePublished - Nov 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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