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.

News & Updates

Longtime Audubon volunteer revives his own property for the birds
Forestry In Action

Longtime Audubon volunteer revives his own property for the birds

Lifelong appreciation of wildlife motivates Russ Oates’ conservation efforts on his Yancey County property and as an Audubon volunteer.

WNC Forest Plan 101: What It Means for Birds
Forestry In Action

WNC Forest Plan 101: What It Means for Birds

Audubon, partners watching closely for release of Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest plan revision.

Nantahala-Pisgah Forest Plan: Managing Habitat for Birds
Forestry In Action

Nantahala-Pisgah Forest Plan: Managing Habitat for Birds

Plan revisions should prioritize ecological restoration practices that benefit birds.

Nantahala-Pisgah Forest Plan: Protecting Land for Birds
Forestry In Action

Nantahala-Pisgah Forest Plan: Protecting Land for Birds

Audubon supports more Wilderness protections in the revised plan, but our highest priority is bird habitat.

Nantahala-Pisgah Forest Plan: Balancing Birds and Recreation
Forestry In Action

Nantahala-Pisgah Forest Plan: Balancing Birds and Recreation

By identifying places that can handle more recreation, Audubon is ensuring vital bird habitat remains protected.

Empowering Women Landowners for the Birds
Working Lands

Empowering Women Landowners for the Birds

ForestHer NC workshop series reaches out to important but overlooked landowner group.

Four Legislative Wins for the Birds in 2019
News

Four Legislative Wins for the Birds in 2019

From native plants to energy policy, you helped make these 2019 victories possible in Raleigh.

Audubon, NC DEQ's Regan, Grandfather Mountain officials talk WNC climate threats
Working Lands

Audubon, DEQ Sec. Regan, Grandfather Mountain officials talk climate threats in WNC

— More than half of the breeding birds in the state threatened by changes to our climate can be found in western North Carolina.
New Audubon Science: Two-Thirds of North American Birds at Risk of Extinction Due to Climate Change
News

New Audubon Science: Two-Thirds of North American Birds at Risk of Extinction Due to Climate Change

— More than 200 species that breed, winter, and migrate through North Carolina are vulnerable.

How you can help, right now