Climate change threatens migratory birds in the Wadden Sea

There are significant signs that climate change, both inside and outside the Netherlands, is moving faster than was generally thought just a few years ago. The Dutch Programma naar een Rijke Waddenzee (PRW) has commissioned the Wadden Academy to map out what this means for birds using the East Atlantic Flyway, based on existing scientific publications.The report Effects of Climate Change on Birds in the Wadden Sea Region by expert Jeroen Reneerkens contains the findings and conclusions of the study. And they give cause for concern. Climate change is often seen as a problem of the future, but it is clear that climate change is already posing major threats to migratory birds.

Big influence
In the report, Reneerkens assesses the scientific literature on this subject in order to describe the potential effects of climate change on migratory and breeding birds in the Wadden Sea. Climate change has a major impact on the habitats of the birds along their entire migration route. Reneerkens: ”The conditions in the breeding areas of wading birds around the Arctic Circle are already changing heavily; global warming is even faster there than it is here. If the global temperature rises on average 2 ° C, then it can rise 4 ° C in the Arctic. Shellfish in the Wadden Sea, an important food source for the birds, can die en masse during heat waves. These are problems that already occur in the short term. In the longer term, accelerated sea level rise can also lead to drowning of mud flats, which means that birds can no longer forage there. And nests on salt marshes are more likely to wash away during spring storms. ”

Read the whole article on the website of PRW (in Dutch)