BIRDS in Asia may need a helping hand to adapt to climate change, according to North-East scientists.

A new study led by Durham University and BirdLife International, shows that many bird species are likely to suffer under future climate change, and will require enhanced protection of important sites, better management of the wider countryside, and in some of the most extreme cases may need to be physically moved to climatically suitable areas to help them survive.

The priority, the researchers say, is for stronger protection and effective management of networks of important sites for conservation which currently support priority species and could offer new habitat for birds forced to shift their distribution in future.

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The research, published in the journal Global Change Biology, examined the potential future distributions of suitable climate within conservation sites (Important Bird Areas) for 370 Asian bird species of conservation concern across the Eastern Himalaya and Lower Mekong regions.

According to the scientists, the findings demonstrate how climate change could affect birdlife and conservation policy across the globe. The researchers say that adapting the way that conservation sites are managed, and facilitating the movement of species to suitable areas, will be critical to future conservation.