Early Career Climate Forum Blog on Montane Birds

Monday, July 18, 2016

NE CSC Graduate Fellow, Tim Duclos, spends a lot of time at high elevation.  He composed a peice for the Early Career Climate Forum on his observaitons about conserving montane birds in the face of climate change.

High Stakes for our High Peaks: Working to Conserve Montane Birds of the Northern Forest in the Face of Climate Change

By Tim Duclos, July 18, 2016

While the mountains of the Northeast may not be the tallest nor the most remote compared to others within North America, they contribute just as much to the natural and cultural value of the surrounding landscape as any other. Stretching from the Catskills and Adirondacks of New York to the Greens of Vermont, Whites of New Hampshire, and all the way up to Katahdin in Maine, the mountains of the Northern Forest are a formidable and irreplaceable feature of the Northeastern landscape. As they rise in elevation, both the climate and geology change.  As a result, the forest itself changes; hardwoods first slowly give way to red spruce and balsam fir, then before tree-line, the forest, completely warped by the harsh climate, transitions into a thick and stunted forest known as the “krumholdtz”- a German word meaning “bent, twisted, and crooked”.   Anybody who has attempted to traverse such forest can testify to the applicability of this term.  Alongside this change in the forest, as well as climatic condition, the animal community also changes.  Existing in these high elevation areas are birds, plants, and other animals that cannot be found anywhere else in lower areas. As such, our high areas contribute greatly to regional biodiversity and for this reason alone their conservation and protection must be a priority.  

I believe it is the change in elevation and biodiversity that attracts many of us to adventure in these areas—we seek them to quite literally elevate our senses and expand our perspective.  It is partly for this reason that from my earliest days I have been in love with the mountains.  I’ve been long captivated by the independence, wonder, and challenge that comes with living out of a backpack while hiking long distances across the landscape; indeed, I have through hiked Vermont’s Long Trail and completed much of the Appalachian Trail.   Consequently, it is of no surprise that as a young career scientist and conservation ecologist I am working to conserve and protect these special areas for many generations to come.   Read More >>