Netherlands Society for the Protection of Birds (VBN)
Netherlands Society for the Protection of Birds (Vogelbescherming Nederland, VBN) is the BirdLife PartnerFounded in: 1899
Address: Boulevard 12, 3707 BM Zeist, Netherlands
Mission of the organisation
"Together for Birds and People". Vogelbescherming Nederland is the Dutch Partner of BirdLife International, a worldwide Partnership of non-governmental conservation organisations that togethers seeks to conserve all wild bird species and the priority sites (Important Bird Areas) and habitats on which they depend. Vogelbescherming Nederland aims, through birds, to help conserve biodiversity and maintain the quality of life on Earth.
Vogelbescherming Nederland focuses on the protection of threatened bird species. Our activities are mainly centred around species occuring on national and international red lists, and on the areas and habitats on which these species depend (both in the Netherlands and worldwide).
Vogelbescherming Nederland seeks to involve the general public in nature conservation. Therefore, we stimulate people to enjoy birds. From gardens to nature reserves.
Vogelbescherming Nederland uses different approaches to tackle the problems that birds face. The most important are:
- Lobbying and advocacy - we stimulate development of policies with positive effects on birds and nature, both nationally and on an EU-level
- Setting examples - we play an important role in initiating, drafting and executing conservation plans for priority species and sites. These plans have direct local conservation impacts but also serve as examples for other areas
- Legal protection - birds, and their sites and habitats, are best protected within an appropriate legal framework. Vogelbescherming Nederland encourages the development of sound legislation and its application. Although we prefer other means, Vogelbescherming Nederland occasionally takes cases to court to ensure that the needs of birds are well-balanced with other societal demands
- Campaigns - Vogelbescherming Nederland uses campaigns and other forms of publicity to raise awareness for the need to protect birds and the sites and habits on which they rely. These campaigns result in public attention, political will and funding necessary to undertake action
What combination of the above approaches is used, depends on the nature and scale of the conservation problems. We base our actions on the information generated by research and monitoring, as well as by alerts from the Dutch network of bird conservation groups. Our ‘wetland wachten’ (volunteers monitoring IBA wetlands) are especially important for detecting hazards and opportunities for birds and conservation.
Vogelbescherming Nederland has four main programmes:
- Birds of agricultural landscapes - centuries of agricultural use have shaped the Dutch landscapes and its bird communities. However, present land use threatens even the most typical birds of meadows, fields and small-scale agricultural mosaics. Therefore, Vogelbescherming Nederland is involved in the protection of species such as Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa), Skylark (Alauda arvensis), Corncrake (Crex crex), and Little Owl (Athene noctua)
- Birds of natural landscapes - while most areas in the Netherlands have been transformed, we still have some areas in which natural processes dominate. Most of these natural areas are wetlands. The majority are IBAs. The Wadden Sea, The North Sea, the IJsselmeer, the river systems of Rijn, Maas and Waal, and the Schelde are natural areas of international importance. The activities of Vogelbescherming Nederland focus on the protection of these sites. Likewise, we are implementing habitat conservation plans for marshland birds and birds of coasts and dunes
- Birds of urban areas - to bring bird (and nature) conservation closer to the general public, Vogelbescherming Nederland is also involved in conservation work in cities, towns and villages. Awareness and conservation activities use House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) and Common Swift (Apus apus) as flagship species
- International bird conservation - Vogelbescherming Nederland plays an active role in BirdLife International and supports the further development of the BirdLife Network within Europe and Africa, and in countries with whom the Dutch have historical links. In addition, we are active in the different task forces of BirdLife and in working groups of international conventions relevant to bird and nature conservation
In all programmes, Vogelbescherming Nederland seeks to join forces with other interest groups. From farmers and fishermen, to other conservation societies and corporate enterprises. Through collaboration with other stakeholders, we try to find solutions for the complex problems that birds and nature face. International activities of Vogelbescherming Nederland are always carried out jointly with other BirdLife Partners.
- Mechanical cockle fisheries banned from IBA Wadden Sea - complaints by Vogelbescherming Nederland and several other NGOs to the European Commission about mechanical cockle fisheries in the Wadden Sea, has resulted in a ban in 2005 of this destructive industry. The international importance of the Wadden Sea for birds is, according to the new Dutch Wadden Sea policy, incompatible with such forms of unsustainable use of natural resources.
- Successful protection of marshland birds - from 2000-2004 Vogelbescherming Nederland implemented a protection scheme for 13 species of marshland birds. The project successfully identified the ecological requirements of the different species and managed to translate these findings into concrete conservation actions. The habitat restoration projects for Bittern (Botaurus stellaris) and Purple Heron (Ardea purpurescens) have been successfully copied to other regions. These efforts have contributed to stopping the alarmingly fast decline of these typical marshland bird species in the Netherlands
- International campaign for the Westerschelde - Together with other Dutch and Belgian NGOs, Vogelbescherming Nederland is campaigning for the appreciation of the natural treasures of the Westerschelde. This intertidal river system is of great international importance for birds, fish and sea mammals. However, industry and transport reign over the area and ecological values are overlooked. With a campaign addressing the general public, politicians, and industry, this attitude is changing
- Wetland conservation in Tunisia - support from Vogelbescherming Nederland enables the Association des Amis des Oiseaux (AAO), the BirdLife Partner Designate in Tunisia, to effectively protect wetlands of international importance for waders and waterfowl. A network of caretakers has been established as well as programmes for nature education in primary and secondary schools. Using the migration route of immature Black-tailed Godwits (Limosa limosa) as linkage between bird conservation in Tunisia and the Netherlands, the members of Vogelbescherming Nederland are becoming increasingly supportive of our international activities