Knowledge about climate change impacts on species distribution at national scale is critical to biodiversity conservation and design of management programs. Although China is a biodiversity hot spot in the world, potential influence of climate change on Chinese protected birds is rarely studied. Here, we assess the impact of climate change on 108 protected bird species and nature reserves using species distribution modeling at a relatively fine spatial resolution (1 km) for the first time. We found that a large proportion of protected species would have potential suitable habitat shrink and northward range shift by 77-90 km in response to projected future climate change in 2080. Southeastern China would suffer from losing climate suitability, whereas the climate conditions in Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and northeastern China were projected to become suitable for more protected species. On average, each protected area in China would experience a decline of suitable climate for 3-4 species by 2080. Climate change will modify which species each protected area will be suitable for. Our results showed that the risk of extinction for Chinese protected birds would be high, even in the moderate climate change scenario. These findings indicate that the management and design of nature reserves in China must take climate change into consideration.
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