How has bird biodiversity changed over time? A review across spatio-temporal scales

This is a Preprint and has not been peer reviewed. The published version of this Preprint is available: This is version 3 of this Preprint.

Add a Comment

You must log in to post a comment.


There are no comments or no comments have been made public for this article.


Download Preprint

Supplementary Files

François Leroy , Jiri Reif, David Storch, Petr Keil


Empirical quantification of biodiversity changes remains a challenge even in well surveyed groups such as birds. This may be because the change depends on spatio-temporal scales, specifically on spatial grain (i.e. area of a sampling unit), geographic extent (i.e. size of the area of interest), temporal grain (i.e. duration of a sampling event), and temporal extent (i.e. length of the time series). Further, different metrics of biodiversity may exhibit different trends. Here we review global literature assessing the temporal trends of avian biodiversity from ca 1900 AD to present, focusing on studies summarising trends across many locations within a larger region (i.e. spatially replicated). From each study we extracted direction of average trend (increase, decrease, stable), spatial and temporal grains and extents at which trends have been assessed, metrics of biodiversity, and location. We then discuss the trends as a function of the spatio-temporal grains and extents they are defined at. We found 59 trends of 12 metrics, where each trend is an average of trends from multiple sites (spatial replicates). There was a tendency of biodiversity metrics to increase at local and regional spatial scales, and to not increase globally. We thus confirmed that biodiversity dynamics can have opposite trends at different spatial scales. Concerning temporal grain, it was poorly documented across the studies, with inconsistent definitions, and we suggest a common framework to better understand the link between temporal scales and biodiversity dynamics. We have also identified underrepresented regions (those outside North America and Europe), periods (those before the 70’s), and biodiversity metrics that need further attention. We highlight the importance of considering both spatial and temporal scaling jointly in any assessment of biodiversity change, and provide guidelines for how to do this effectively both in birds, and in other taxa.



Biodiversity, Life Sciences


biodiversity crisis, breeding bird survey, cross scale, extinction, functional diversity, macroecology, resolution, richness, taxonomic diversity, turnover


Published: 2022-02-25 18:53

Last Updated: 2022-03-17 19:04

Older Versions

CC-By Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International