“If we don’t take action, the collapse of our civilisations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon.” Sir David Attenborough, at UN Climate Change Summit, Dec. 2018.
The State of the World’s Birds
An assessment by Birdlife International on the conditions and trends of the world’s birds provides an insight in to the wider state of biodiversity.
- Biodiversity is the world’s natural wealth
- Our social and economic well being depends on it
- It provides us with vital goods and services
- It maintains the life sustaining systems of the biosphere
- Our futures depend on it
And yet biodiversity is being lost faster than ever!
The status of the world’s birds is deteriorating with more and more species at risk of extinction and the number of bird species listed as Critically Endangered has reached an all-time high with 1 in 8 species threatened with extinction.
Why Birds are Declining
Human actions are putting pressure on species, sites & habitats and a range of threats are driving these declines:
- Unsustainable agricultural practices
- 40% of world’s ice-free land now devoted to agriculture
- Replacement of traditional farmed land with monocultures
- Seabirds in serious danger from fisheries bycatch
- Invasive alien species are spreading
- Infrastructure development, pollution & overexploitation
- Loss of intertidal habitat in Asia
- Contamination of food sources with veterinary drugs
- Unregulated hunting
- Human induced climate change
The Importance of Birds
Birds help us understand the natural world and here are 10 reasons why birds are excellent indicators of biodiversity:
- Bird taxonomy is well known
- Bird distribution, ecology, and life history are well understood
- Birds are easy to identify and monitor
- Birds are diverse and found in every habitat
- Bird habitat requirements are specialized
- Birds occupy high levels in food webs and are sensitive to environmental change
- Population trends mirror those of other species
- Distribution reflects that of other wildlife groups
- Birds economically important
- Birds are popular flagships for nature!
What We Need to Do
- Invest in conservation
- Integrate biodiversity in to decision making
- Understand how people depend on biodiversity
- Empower people for positive change
- Conserve Important Bird Areas (IBAs) and the wider landscape
- Save species from extinction
- Careful research and monitoring are essential to guide successful conservation and management actions
- The strongest finding in The State of the Birds report is simple: conservation works!