BirdLife
Denis Cachia
Les populations de Tourterelles des bois ont diminué de 62 % en 26 ans
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Les oiseaux, indicateurs de la crise de la biodiversité – et vecteurs de solutions

22-09-2008

Les oiseaux communs subissent un déclin mondial, prouvant par là-même une détérioration de l’environnement global accélérée qui affecte toutes les formes de vie sur terre, y compris la vie humaine. Bien que les gouvernements du monde se soient engagés à stopper la perte de biodiversité d’ici 2010, leur répugnance à engager des sommes souvent insignifiantes au regard du budget national indique que cet objectif ne sera vraisemblablement pas atteint.

Ces informations exhaustives figure dans « Etat des populations d’oiseaux dans le monde : des indicateurs pour un monde qui change », nouvelle publication, disponible en brochure ou consultable sous www.birdlife.org/sowb , lancée aujourd’hui lors de la Conférence mondiale de BirdLife International à Buenos Aires, Argentine.

"Les oiseaux sont un baromètre précis et pratique de lecture de l’état de l’environnement, nous permettant de visualiser clairement les pressions exercées sur la biodiversité mondiale par nos modes de vie" signale Dr Mike Rands, Directeur Général de BirdLife International.

Marek Jobda / rarebirdsyearbook.com
Il y a 30 ans, des dizaines de millions de Vautours chaugouns volaient dans le ciel d’Asie. Ils sont désormais classés dans le catégorie « En danger critique d’extinction
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“Nombre de ces oiseaux peuplent notre quotidien familier ; ainsi, les personnes qui n’auraient pas nécessairement remarqué d'autres bioindicateurs ont cependant constaté l’effondrement des effectifs aviens…” —Dr Mike Rands, BirdLife's CEO

Le rapport met en lumière des pertes mondiales au sein d'espèces d'oiseaux à large distribution, autrefois familières. Une proportion stupéfiante de 45 % d’espèces oiseaux communs européens est en déclin (1), dont, par exemple, l’emblématique Tourterelle des bois Streptopelia turtur  qui a perdu 62 % de sa population ces dernières 25 années. De l’autre côté du globe, les populations d’échassiers sédentaires australiens ont subi des pertes de 81 % en l’espace d’un quart de siècle (2).
En outre, 20 espèces d’oiseaux communs d’Amérique du Nord ont vu leurs effectifs divisés par deux ces 4 dernières décennies (3). La population de Colin de Virginie, Colinus virginianus, a chuté radicalement de 82 %. En Amérique latine, le Cardinal vert, Gubernatrix cristata, autrefois commun en Argentine, est maintenant classé comme mondialement menacé, catégorie En danger [4].

Des millions de Vautours chaugouns, Gyps bengalensis, volaient encore récemment dans le ciel d’Asie. En un laps de 16 ans, leur population s’est effondrée de 99,9 %! Cette espèce est maintenant classée dans la catégorie « En danger critique d’extinction ». Par ailleurs, on pense que les espèces à large distribution telles que le Grand-duc d’Europe disparaissent des forêts du Moyen-Orient (6). Les oiseaux marins, notamment l’Albatros des Chatham « En danger critique d’extinction » disparaissent des océans mondiaux (7).

Alan Tate; www.aabirdpix.com
Actuellement, 19 espèces d’albatros sur 22 sont menacées d’extinction, notamment l’Albatros des Chatham, qui s’alimente dans l’océan Pacifique sud
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“Une conservation efficiente de la biodiversité est tout à fait abordable, nécessitant des sommes relativement insignifiantes à l’échelle de l’économie mondiale” —Dr Mike Rands

"Nombre de ces oiseaux peuplent notre quotidien familier ; ainsi, les personnes qui n’auraient pas nécessairement remarqué d’autres bioindicateurs environnementaux ont cependant constaté l’effondrement des effectifs de cette classe  et s’interrogent sur ses causes", déclare Dr Rands. "En raison de leur vaste répartition sur la planète, les oiseaux peuvent être nos yeux et oreilles, et ces derniers nous indiquent que la détérioration de la biodiversité et de l’environnement s’accélèrent, sans ralentissement aucun".

La publication de Etat des populations d’oiseaux dans le monde : des indicateurs pour un monde qui change identifie plusieurs menaces phare mondiales, notamment l’intensification des industries agro-alimentaire et halieutique, la colonisation des espèces invasives, la foresterie et la conversion de forêts naturelles en plantations monoculturales. Cependant, Dr Rands prévient qu’ "A long terme, le changement climatique induit par les activité humaines sera le plus grave stress entre tous".

L’information très encourageante à retenir est que les travaux de conservation sont efficaces et relativement économiquement raisonnables. Ainsi, des actions directes ont permis de sauver de l’extinction 16 espèces d’oiseaux entre 1994 et 2004, mais la conservation de la biodiversité nécessite aujourd’hui davantage de soutiens financiers.

James C. Lowen; www.pbase.com/james_lowen
Il n’y a pas si longtemps, des espèces largement répandues telles que le Cardinal vert, et autrefois communes en Argentine, sont désormais classées comme mondialement menacées, catégorie En danger
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“Le défi consiste à exploiter les engagements internationaux en faveur de la biodiversité et à s’assurer que des actions concrètes sont effectivement mises en oeuvre – maintenant!” —Dr Mike Rands

"Une conservation efficiente de la biodiversité est tout à fait abordable, nécessitant des sommes relativement insignifiantes à l’échelle de l’économie mondiale", assure Dr Mike Rands. Par exemple, le maintien du réseau des sites protégés qui sauvegarderait 90 % de la biodiversité africaine coûterait moins de 1 milliard de dollars américains par an – à titre d’information, la communauté internationale consacre environ 300 millions de dollars par an à cet objectif.

“Les gouvernements mondiaux sont en train d’échouer dans leur engagement à réduire de manière importante le taux actuel de perte de biodiversité", s’alarme Dr Rands. "Le défi consiste à exploiter les engagements internationaux sur la biodiversité et à s’assurer que des actions concrètes sont effectivement mises en oeuvre – maintenant", déclare Dr Mike Rands.

Ends

Further details:

For more information, or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Nick Askew:   +54 15 4029 4972 / nick.askew@birdlife.org
Martin Fowlie: +54 15 4164 0005 / martin.fowlie@birdlife.org
Ade Long: +54 15 3181 3692 / adrian.long@birdlife.org

 

Photographs:

Click here to visit a page of photographs which may be downloaded. Images can be directly saved using the 'high-res' button displayed under the image and should be credited exactly as shown.

 

Additional notes for editors:

BirdLife International is a global alliance of conservation organisations working in more than 100 countries and territories who, together, are the leading authority on the status of birds, their habitats and the issues and problems affecting them.

State of the World's Birds examines what the best-known group of living things, birds, can tell us about the state of biodiversity, the pressures upon it and the solutions that are being, or should be, put in place. It is published every four years by BirdLife International. The 2008 theme is ‘Indicators of our changing world’.

This report is a brief summary of the information available on BirdLife’s State of the World’s Birds website. Using the most up-to date analyses, it outlines why birds and biodiversity are important, what we know about the changing state of the world’s birds, why birds are declining and what can be done to improve their status. It presents and lists a small sample of the case studies providing evidence for these messages and examples of BirdLife’s work.

For more detailed information visit BirdLife’s State of the World’s Birds website at birdlife.org/sowb. Click the following links to download the full report:

Regional specific examples of common bird declines:

Africa

The report highlights the decline of common African birds. Surveys show that birds of prey are in widespread decline outside protected areas. “Large African raptors such as vultures and eagles have been vanishing over the past 30 years”, noted Dr Rands. In just three decades, 11 eagle species declined by 86–98% in Burkina Faso and surrounding countries of Mali and Niger [8]. In addition, six large vulture species – including the once widespread and now globally Endangered Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus - have suffered extremely dramatic losses.

The story is the same for birds migrating between Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Afro-Palearctic migratory birds have suffered massive (40%) population declines over just three decades [9]. “Birds impacted by agricultural intensification in Europe may also suffer from excessive hunting in the Middle East and desertification of their African wintering grounds. These species are being hit at all stages of their annual journeys”, warned Dr Rands. “Common migratory species such as Eurasian Wryneck Jynx torquilla, Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe, Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus and Common Nightingale Luscinia megarhynchos are silently disappearing [10].”

North America

The report highlights the decline of common North American birds. In North America, 20 common bird species have suffered population declines of over 50% in the last 40 years [3]. “Northern Bobwhite Colinus virginianus has declined the most dramatically, with population reductions of 82%”, noted Dr Rands. Other widespread species suffering significant declines include Evening Grosbeak Coccothraustes vespertinus (78%), Northern Pintail Anas acuta (77%) and Boreal Chickadee Parus hudsonica (73%) [11].

The story is the same for birds migrating between North and Latin America. “A staggering 57% of Neotropical migrants monitored at their breeding grounds have suffered from population declines over the last four decades [12]”, warned Dr Rands. “Migratory species such as the Wilson’s Phalarope Steganopus tricolor, Semipalmated Sandpiper Calidris pusilla and Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes are silently disappearing [13].”

Latin America

The  report highlights the decline of common Latin American birds. Bird monitoring in El Salvador reports that 25% of common resident species – including Flame-coloured Tanager Piranga bidentata, Chestnut-capped Brush-Finch Arremon brunneinucha, and Collared Trogon Trogon collaris - have experienced significant declines within the last decade [14]. No monitored species increased. “Formerly widespread species, such as the Yellow Cardinal Gubernatrix cristata, once common in Argentina, are now classified as Endangered” noted Dr Rands [15].

The story is the same for birds migrating between North and Latin America. “A staggering 57% of Neotropical migrants monitored at their breeding grounds have suffered from population declines over the last four decades [12]”, warned Dr Rands. “Migratory species such as the Wilson’s Phalarope Steganopus tricolor, Semipalmated Sandpiper Calidris pusilla and Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes are silently disappearing [13].”

Asia

The report highlights the decline of common Asian birds. “Thirty years ago, tens of millions of White-rumped Vultures Gyps bengalensis were flying the skies of Asia. This species was probably the most abundant large bird of prey in the world: it is now Critically Endangered and on the very brink of extinction”, noted Dr Rands. Numbers have fallen by 99.9% since 1992 [5].

The story is the same for birds migrating between the Pacific and Asian regions. Migratory shorebirds, and the wetland habitats they rely on for their annual journeys, are under threat all along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway”, warned Dr Rands. The populations of migrant shorebirds wintering in south-eastern Australia have plummeted by 79% over a 24 year period [16], and species such as the Endangered Spotted Greenshank Tringa guttifer are declining throughout their range [17]. Sixty-two percent of migratory waterbird species in Asia are either declining or already extinct [18].

Europe

The report highlights the decline of common European birds. An analysis of 124 of Europe’s common birds over a 26-year period reveals that 56 species (45%) have declined across 20 European countries, with farmland birds doing particularly badly [1]. The familiar Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus has declined by 17%. Furthermore, species such as European Turtle-dove Streptopelia turtur, Grey Partridge Perdix perdix and Corn Bunting Miliaria calandra have dropped by 62%, 79% and 61% respectively.

The story is the same for birds migrating between Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Afro-Palearctic migratory birds have suffered massive (40%) population declines over just three decades [9]. “Birds impacted by agricultural intensification in Europe may also suffer from excessive hunting in the Middle East and desertification of their African wintering grounds. These species are being hit at all stages of their annual journeys”, warned Dr Rands. “Common migratory species such as Eurasian Wryneck Jynx torquilla, Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe, Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus and Common Nightingale Luscinia megarhynchos are silently disappearing [10].”

Middle East and Central Asia

The report highlights the decline of common Middle East and Central Asian birds. Many common species such as Eurasian Eagle-owl are under great pressure and believed to be declining throughout the region [19]. Once widespread, the Houbara Bustard Chlamydotis undulata (Vulnerable) has suffered rapid population declines. “The global population of Houbara Bustard may have fallen by 35% in the past twenty years alone”, noted Dr Rands [20].

The story is the same for birds migrating between Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Afro-Palearctic migratory birds have suffered massive (40%) population declines over just three decades [9]. “Birds impacted by agricultural intensification in Europe may also suffer from excessive hunting in the Middle East and desertification of their African wintering grounds. These species are being hit at all stages of their annual journeys”, warned Dr Rands. “Common migratory species such as Eurasian Wryneck Jynx torquilla, Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe, Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus and Common Nightingale Luscinia megarhynchos are silently disappearing [10].”

Pacific

The report highlights the decline of common birds in the Pacific region. Studies of resident Australian waders reveal that 81% of their populations disappeared in just quarter of a century”, noted Dr Rands [21]. Seabirds are becoming threatened at a faster rate globally than all other bird groups. Presently, 19 of the 22 species of albatross are threatened with extinction, including Critically Endangered Chatham Albatross Thalassarche eremita which feeds throughout the South Pacific Ocean [22].

The story is the same for birds migrating between the Pacific and Asian regions. Migratory shorebirds, and the wetland habitats they rely on for their annual journeys, are under threat all along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway”, warned Dr Rands. The populations of migrant shorebirds wintering in south-eastern Australia have plummeted by 79% over a 24 year period [16], and species such as the Endangered Spotted Greenshank Tringa guttifer are declining throughout their range [17]. Sixty-two percent of migratory waterbird speceis in Asia are either declining or already extinct [18].

 

Rare birds are getting rarer

At present one in eight of the world’s birds – 1,226 species - are Globally Threatened according to the IUCN Red List. Of these, 190 face an imminent risk of extinction [23]. “The threat of extinction is real. Over the last three centuries 153 bird species are believed to have been lost forever – three species have vanished since 2000 alone”, warned Dr Rands [24].

 

Birds help measure global progress towards biodiversity targets.

Globally agreed goals, such as the 2010 target to ‘achieve a significant reduction in the current rate of loss of biodiversity’, require a global monitoring system. Birds are at the forefront of producing such a monitoring system because they are found everywhere and are well monitored compared to other groups.

The 2010 Biodiversity Indicators Partnership (2010 BIP) is a global initiative to further develop and promote indicators for the consistent monitoring and assessment of biodiversity. BirdLife International is one of over forty organisations working to support the regular delivery of the 2010 biodiversity target indicators at the global and national levels.

In 2007, the Red List Index, which was initially designed and tested by BirdLife, was selected to be the basis of a new Millennium Development Goal (MDG) indicator, known as the ‘Proportion of species threatened with extinction’. Through such processes, birds will continue to play a vital role in monitoring progress towards conserving biodiversity in the years to come [25].

 

Protecting Important Bird Areas really helps

Important Bird Areas (IBAs) form a worldwide network of sites for the conservation of birds. BirdLife and its Partners have identified over 10,000 IBAs to date. When complete, this global network is likely to cover some 10 million km2 (c.7% of the world’s land surface) identified on the basis of about 40% of the world’s bird species. 

The effective conservation of these sites will contribute substantially to the protection of the world's biological diversity. While formal protection often remains the preferred option, other more innovative approaches can also be highly effective. These range from maximising the engagement of local communities to ensuring effective application of safeguard policies and Environmental Impact Assessment for development projects. In all cases a commitment to long-term engagement is the key to success [26].

 

Birds are important to people’s livelihoods

Conserving biodiversity and eliminating poverty are linked global challenges. The poor, particularly the rural poor, depend on nature for many elements of their livelihoods, including food, fuel, shelter and medicines. Working alongside people who will ultimately benefit from conservation can build social capital, improve accountability and reduce poverty. In contrast, excluding people from conservation actions can increase conflict, resentment and poverty.

Understanding how people experience poverty locally is essential in identifying how biodiversity conservation can help improve their livelihoods. BirdLife Partners have worked with communities to develop site-specific solutions to the problems they have identified. Examples include supporting agricultural development around Kabira National Park, Burundi, to help reduce pressure on the park’s land and resources, developing ecotourism to generate income at San Marcos, Bolivia, and improving management and marketing of non-timber forest products in Palas Valley, Pakistan.

BirdLife International Partners are increasingly engaging with diverse policy issues relevant to the conservation of biodiversity. Partners are tackling policy sectors that deal directly with biodiversity (such as forests, wildlife trade and the marine environment), but significantly they are also addressing policy sectors that have a major indirect impact, or cut across the other sectors (such as poverty reduction, conservation finance and tourism) [27].

 

More conservation funding is urgently needed

Global conservation investment still falls far short of what is needed. Conservation financing is rarely sustained and often not directed where it can do most good. The biggest shortfalls are in developing countries—often biodiversity rich but economically poor. Those who benefit from biodiversity as a global good must contribute more to looking after it. Effective biodiversity conservation is, in fact, easily affordable, requiring relatively trivial sums at the scale of the global economy.

In 2005, the African protected area network received around US $300 million, less than 40% of the funding required for an expanded and effectively managed system. Making up the difference would go a long way to ensuring the conservation of 90% of the continent’s irreplaceable biodiversity—in global terms an absolute bargain. In Nigeria, for example, the annual appropriation for protected area management is a small fraction of the budgeted requirements, and what can actually be spent is even less [28].

 

BirdLife species factsheets - click for more information

 

Links to case studies in text

Case studies mentioned in the text come from: State of the Worlds Birds website, BirdLife news stories, BirdLife Programme pages, BirdLife datazone factsheets, BirdLife Partner publications and BirdLife staff experience. To find out more, click the hyperlinks on the text below:

  1. A staggering 45% of common European birds are declining
  2. Resident Australian wading birds have seen population losses of 81% in just quarter of a century
  3. Twenty North American common birds have more than halved in number in the last four decades
  4. In Latin America, the Yellow Cardinal Gubernatrix cristata - once common in Argentina - is now classified as globally Endangered
  5. Millions of White-rumped Vultures Gyps bengalensis recently flew in Asian skies. In just sixteen years populations have crashed by 99.9% - the species is now classified as Critically Endangered
  6. Widespread birds like the Eurasian Eagle-owl Bubo bubo are believed to be vanishing from Middle Eastern forests (Personal communication: Richard Porter & Simon Aspinall).
  7. Seabirds - including Critically Endangered Chatham Albatross Thalassarche eremita - are disappearing from the world’s oceans
  8. In just three decades, 11 eagle species declined by 86–98% in Burkina Faso and surrounding countries of Mali and Niger
  9. Afro-Palearctic migratory birds have suffered massive (40%) population declines over just three decades
  10. Common migratory species such as Eurasian Wryneck Jynx torquilla, Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe, Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus and Common Nightingale Luscinia megarhynchos are silently disappearing
  11. Other widespread species suffering significant declines include Evening Grosbeak Coccothraustes vespertinus (78%), Northern Pintail Anas acuta (77%) and Boreal Chickadee Parus hudsonica (73%)
  12. A staggering 57% of Neotropical migrants monitored at their breeding grounds have suffered from population declines over the last four decades
  13. Migratory species such as the Wilson’s Phalarope Steganopus tricolor, Semipalmated Sandpiper Calidris pusilla and Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes are silently disappearing (Personal communication: Otte Ottema & Rob Clay).
  14. Bird monitoring in El Salvador reports that 25% of common resident species – including Flame-coloured Tanager Piranga bidentata, Chestnut-capped Brush-Finch Arremon brunneinucha, and Collared Trogon Trogon collaris - have experienced significant declines within the last decade (Personal communication: Oliver Komar & Rob Clay).
  15. Formerly widespread species, such as the Yellow Cardinal Gubernatrix cristata, once common in Argentina, are now classified as Endangered” noted Dr Rands
  16. The populations of migrant shorebirds wintering in south-eastern Australia have plummeted by 79% over a 24 year period
  17. Species such as the Endangered Spotted Greenshank Tringa guttifer are declining throughout their range
  18. Sixty-two percent of migratory waterbird species in Asia are either declining or already extinct
  19. Many common species such as Eurasian Eagle-owl are under great pressure and believed to be declining throughout the region (Personal communication: Richard Porter & Simon Aspinall).
  20. The global population of Houbara Bustard may have fallen by 35% in the past twenty years alone”, noted Dr Rands
  21. Resident Australian wading birds have seen population losses of 81% in just quarter of a century
  22. Presently, 19 of the 22 species of albatross are threatened with extinction, including Critically Endangered Chatham Albatross Thalassarche eremita which feeds throughout the South Pacific Ocean
  23. At present one in eight of the world’s birds – 1,226 species - are Globally Threatened according to the IUCN Red List. Of these, 190 face an imminent risk of extinction
  24. Over the last three centuries 153 bird species are believed to have been lost forever – three species have vanished since 2000 alone”, warned Dr Rands
  25. Birds help measure global progress towards biodiversity targets.
  26. Protecting Important Bird Areas really helps
  27. Birds are important to people’s livelihoods
  28. More conservation funding is urgently needed

Acknowledgements

The compilation and publication of the State of the World’s Birds report and website were generously supported by the Aage V. Jensen Charity Foundation and the Darwin Initiative.

BirdLife wishes to acknowledge and thank its Founder Patrons for their support of the Science Programme that generated the report. Many of the data underlying the analyses of threatened birds and Important Bird Areas were provided by the BirdLife Partnership and a wider expert network who contribute to BirdLife’s Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

 


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