The results of spatial modelling based on various climatic change scenarios predict shifts in the geographical ranges of species. Theoretically, a species can spread into new areas if the local habitat composition meets its ecological requirements. Therefore, habitat change in an unfavourable direction should inhibit climatically induced range shifts in some species. We tested this prediction using data on breeding bird distribution in the Czech Republic, a small central European country. We selected 28 species whose northern range limits are in central Europe and compared their distribution in the Czech Republic between 1985–1989 and 2001–2003. From these species, we identified 10 affected by habitat changes, such as a loss in environmental heterogeneity or agricultural intensification, using a local literature survey. As a group, the 28 species did not show any significant changes in their breeding distribution. However, those species affected by habitat change significantly restricted their distribution, whereas the remaining species not affected by habitat change increased their distribution. We suggest that the increasing occupancy of species not affected by habitat change could be caused by climate change. However, climate cannot overshadow the negative impacts of land-use changes on the distribution of species affected by habitat change. Therefore, such species could be seriously threatened: they might not be able to track their climatic optima if future climate change proceeds in tandem with the destruction of their habitats.
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