One size does not fit all: differential responses of waterfowl species to impacts of climate change in central British Columbia

Fred L. Bunnell1,4, Ralph W. Wells1, Bruce Harrison2, and Andre Breault3

1Faculty of Forestry, University of British Columbia, 2424 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4; email:
2Ducks Unlimited Canada, 954A Laval Crescent, Kamloops, BC V2C 5P5
3Canadian Wildlife Service, 5421 Robertson Road, RR 1, Delta, BC V4K 3N2
4Corresponding author

Abstract: Wetlands in the central interior of British Columbia are experiencing increased drying that is expected to continue; small wetlands at low elevations are most vulnerable to drying. Different waterfowl species concentrate their use of wetlands at different elevations and over different wetland size classes, producing differential vulnerability to climate change. In the central interior of British Columbia, the species currently most abundant are also among the more vulnerable species, due to their general preference for smaller wetlands at low to moderate elevations. Historically, efforts at wetland conservation have focussed on low elevations that will be most impacted by climate change. To effectively confront consequences of climate change and encompass the entire range of waterfowl species, wetland management should ensure that management efforts address differential vulnerabilities of both wetlands and waterfowl. In central British Columbia, mid-elevations appear significantly less vulnerable than low elevations and may present greater opportunities for conservation through advantages in water security, costs of conservation actions and ecosystem integrity.

Keywords: British Columbia, climate change, conservation actions, waterfowl, wetland drying

PDFicon Bunnell, F.L., R.W. Wells, B. Harrison, and A. Breault. 2012. One size does not fit all: differential responses of waterfowl species to impacts of climate change incentral British Columbia British Columbia Birds 23:27-38.

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