Mountain Climate Stronghold

Pisgah Natl Forest. Photo: Jeff Gunn/Flickr CC

As one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world, North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains are a biodiversity hotspot and contain one of the largest, most important climate strongholds for birds. Significant elevation changes, complex terrain and associated rain and snow conditions support birds with diverse climate requirements in this area. This includes birds that require deciduous forest, high elevation and open/agricultural habitat conditions. Audubon’s climate models predict that many songbird species will migrate from other parts of the state into the mountains in search of cooler, wetter conditions. Protecting land in the mountains, ensuring forests are managed in a bird-friendly way and growing native plants in mountain towns and cities, are key priorities for Audubon in this area.

Mountain Climate Stronghold

Key climate-threatened birds and habitat “guilds"

Climate-threatened birds can be grouped according to the type of habitat that they prefer.  This climate stronghold is likely to include suitable habitat and climate conditions for many birds threatened by climate change, including key birds listed below.

Deciduous forest species:

High-elevation species:

Open/agricultural land species:

Key Conservation Partners

Government: National Park Service, National Forest Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, North Carolina State Parks, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, North Carolina Forest Service, North Carolina Division of Soil & Water Conservation

National & State NGOs: The Nature Conservancy, The Conservation Fund, Conservation Trust for North Carolina

Local Land Trusts: Land Trust for the Little Tennessee, Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust, Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy, Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina, Blue Ridge Conservancy, New River Conservancy, Piedmont Land Conservancy

Blue Ridge Mountains_akshay_flickr_CC

Blue Ridge Mountains Photo: Akshay/Flickr CC

How you can help climate-threatened birds

  1. Sign up for Audubon North Carolina’s action alerts. Find out when state lawmakers are making important decisions that will impact protection of climate strongholds and other natural areas in the state. Click here to join.
  2. Become an Audubon Ambassador. Audubon Ambassadors are volunteers working with state staff, Audubon chapters, and local communities to spread the word about the effects of climate change on birds, which includes recruiting others with a hopeful, solutions-oriented message.
  3. Grow native plants. Your yard and the plants in it can make a big difference for wildlife. Growing native plants provides critical food and shelter for birds to survive and thrive in the face of climate change.
  4. Are you a birder? Help Audubon refine and improve our climate modeling by participating in Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count and Climate Watch. Your participation will help us continue to refine our climate models and prioritize actions to protect birds.

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