Brisbane, Australia – Scientists from the University of Queensland in Australia are asking for international collaboration to offer a better protection to migratory birds. According to a research made by them, published in the journal Sciences, more than 90% of species are ineffectively protected.
Researchers mapped out the migratory routes of 1,451 species worldwide in order to examine the distribution of protected areas for migratory birds in different countries recognized as significant locations for migratory bird populations. They found that 91% of migratory bird species have inadequate protected area coverage for at least one part of their annual migration cycle.
Migratory birds make major contributions to our ecosystem. They help resource fluxes and biomass transfer. They transport nutrients, and play an important role in predator-prey interactions. They also play a significant part in pest regulation, pollination and dispersing seeds across the globe. A decline in the specie would carry negative consequences to our environment.
Scientist tracked the migratory routes, stopover locations, breeding grounds and wintering locations of 1,451 migratory species and evaluated about 450,000 protected areas like national parks and other reserves. They found huge gaps in conservation efforts to protect migratory birds, particularly across China, India and parts of Africa and South America.
Researchers found in their study that 1,451 of the migratory bird species studied, 1,324 had inadequate protection for at least one part of their migration pathway, some species had no protection in their breeding areas and more than half of migratory birds across all major migratory routes have declined in number over the past 30 years, again, due to inadequate protection. If a single link in this chain of sites is lost for a species, it could lead to major declines or even its extinction, scientist explained.
“Many of these critical sites have been lost to land reclamation owing to urban, industrial and agricultural expansion, and the species is undergoing a rapid decline,” Claire Runge, conservation scientist from the University of Queensland and the University of California, Santa Barbara said.
Scientist hold there is an urgent need to coordinate protected area designation along the birds’ full migration route to prevent this situation from happening. They pointed that it won’t matter what it’s done in Australia or Europe if these birds are losing their habitat somewhere else.