BirdLife
Denis Cachia
European Turtle-dove populations has dropped by 62% in the last 26 years.
Zoom In | Hi-Res

Las aves indican crisis de biodiversidad – y el camino adelante

22-09-2008

Las aves comunes están en declinación en todo el mundo, proveyendo evidencia del rápido deterioro del ambiente global, que esta afectando a toda la vida en la tierra – incluyendo a la vida humana.  Todos los gobiernos del mundo se han comprometido a retardar o detener la pérdida de biodiversidad para el 2010. Pero como siguen estando renuentes a comprometer lo que por lo común son sumas triviales en terminos de presupuesto nacional, este objetivo seguramente no será conseguido.

Estas son algunos de los fuertes mensajes  de Estado de las Aves del Mundo, una nueva publicación y sitio web (birdlife.org/sowb) lanzado hoy en la Conferencia Mundial de BirdLife International en Buenos Aires.

"Las aves  proveen un metodo seguro y fácil de leer el barómetro del ambiente, permitiendonos ver claramente las presiones que nuestra forma de vida actual pone sobre la biodiversidad del mundo", dijo el Dr Mike Rands – Director Ejecutivo de BirdLife.

Marek Jobda / rarebirdsyearbook.com
Thirty years ago, tens of millions of White-rumped Vultures were flying the skies of Asia. They are now classified as Critically Endangered.
Zoom In | Hi-Res

"Muchas de estas aves han sido familiares a nuestro día a día, y las personas que no habrían notado otros indicadores han notado que sus números han ido disminuyendo, y se estan preguntando el porque" —Dr Mike Rands, BirdLife's CEO

El reporte subraya el declive de la saves communes en latinoamerica. El monitoreo de aves en El Salvador reporta que 25% de las especies communes residents – incluyendo Piranga bidentata, Arremon brunneinucha, y Trogon collaris – han experimentado declives significativos en la última decada [14]. Ninguna de las especies monitoreadas han aumentado en su numero. "Especies que solían ser extendidas ampliamente, tales como Gubernatrix cristata, hace un tiempo común en Argentina, estan ahora clasificadas como "En peligro" remarcó el Dr Rands [15].

Lo mismo sucede con la saves migratorias entre Norte y Latinoamerica. "Un total de 57%  de migrantes neotropicales monitoreadas en sus bases de crecimiento han sufrido de declive en sus poblaciones durante los ultimos cuatro decadas [12]", advirtió el Dr Rands. "Las especies migratorias tales como Steganopus tricolor, Calidris pusilla y Tringa flavipes estan desapareciendo silenciosamente [13]."

Alan Tate; www.aabirdpix.com
Presently, 19 of the 22 species of albatross are threatened with extinction, including Critically Endangered Chatham Albatross which feeds throughout the South Pacific Ocean
Zoom In | Hi-Res

"La conservación de la biodiversidad es facilmente suministrable, ya que requieren relativamente sumas triviales en la escala de la economia global" —Dr Mike Rands

"Muchas de estas aves han sido familiares a nuestro día a día, y las personas que no habrían notado otros indicadores han notado que sus números han ido disminuyendo, y se estan preguntando el porque" dijo el Dr Rands. "Porque las aves se encuentran en casi todas partes en el mundo, ellos pueden actuar como nuestros ojos y nuestras orejas, y lo que nos estan contando es que la deterioración de la biodiversidad y del ambiente está acelerandose, no enlenteciendo".

Estado Mundial de las Aves ha identificado muchas tendencias globales, incluyendo la intensificación a escala industrial de la agricultura y de la pesca, la diseminación de especies invasoras, el desmonte, y el reemplazo de bosques naturales con plantaciones de monocultivo. De cualqueir modo, el Dr Rands avisa: "A largo plazo, el cambio climático inducido por el hombre puede ser el más serio factor de stress de todos los que hay".

La noticia alentadora es que la conservación funciona y es relativamente barata. Acciones directas salvaron 16 aves de la extinción entre 1994 y 2004. Pero la conservación de la biodiversidad necesita ahora mayor soporte financiero.

James C. Lowen; www.pbase.com/james_lowen
Formerly widespread species, such as the Yellow Cardinal, once common in Argentina, are now classified as Endangered.
Zoom In | Hi-Res

"El desafio es conformar compromisos de biodiversidad internacional y asegurar que acciones concretas sean tomadas — ahora!" —Dr Mike Rands

"La conservación de la biodiversidad es facilmente suministrable, ya que requieren relativamente sumas triviales en la escala de la economia global", dijo el Dr Rands.  Por ejemplo, para mantener la red de áreas protegidas que protegeran 90 por ciento de la biodiversidad de África costaría menos de un billon de dolares americanos al año – aún asi, en un año tipocamente la comunidad global provee de cerca de $300 milliones.

"El mundo esta fallando en su compromiso de alcanzar  una reduccion significativa en el porcentaje actual de pérdida de biodiversidad", dijo el Dr Rands. "El desafio es conformar compromisos de biodiversidad internacional y asegurar que acciones concretas sean tomadas — ahora!"

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.

 


Advertising more »

BL Ads