Scientists pour cold water on EU bird policy

Feb 27, 2008

New research from the University of Exeter in collaboration with the University of Texas at Austin published in the journal Science (22 February 2008) questions claims that EU conservation policy has been successful in protecting endangered birds.

Introduced in 1979, the EU Birds Directive set out a plan to protect rare birds in all EU countries. A study by scientists from the RSPB and BirdLife International, published in Science in August 2007, argued that the policy had resulted in positive impacts on bird conservation, even saving species that were near extinction.

This new research, however, reveals that the arguments presented in the recent study were flawed and based on inadequate data and predictions. By simply comparing bird populations inside and outside of the EU, the research did not take into account the fact that EU countries are generally wealthier and more developed than European countries outside the Union.

Additionally the evidence used to support EU policy included marine reserves in some countries, but ignored them in others. The Exeter researchers argue that this created the impression that the major EU policy for bird protection has been a success when in reality it may well have fallen short of its original aims.

The new research argues that conservation policies require systematic monitoring and evaluation if they are to be scientifically valid. "Current EU conservation policy can be likened to launching a rocket to Mars, but not actually bothering to check whether it gets there" said lead author Rolando Rodríguez-Muñoz of the University of Exeter. "Without properly monitoring the efficacy of its policies, the EU risks wasting millions of pounds on ineffective conservation programmes.” He commented further: "The Birds and Habitats Directives have become the keystones of the EU conservation policies. They are potentially powerful tools to protect our environment, but for these efforts to be efficient we need feedback to allow us to adapt to new situations or to correct poor implementation.

Source: University of Exeter

Explore further: Sea star disease strikes peninsula marine centers

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Report: China to declare Qualcomm a monopoly

51 minutes ago

(AP)—Chinese regulators have concluded Qualcomm Inc., one of the biggest makers of chips used in mobile devices, has a monopoly, a government newspaper reported Friday.

Scientists stalk coastal killer

1 hour ago

For much of Wednesday, a small group of volunteers and researchers walked in and out of the surf testing a new form of surveillance on the biggest killer of beach swimmers - rip currents.

Recommended for you

'Killer sperm' prevents mating between worm species

8 hours ago

The classic definition of a biological species is the ability to breed within its group, and the inability to breed outside it. For instance, breeding a horse and a donkey may result in a live mule offspring, ...

Rare Sri Lankan leopards born in French zoo

12 hours ago

Two rare Sri Lankan leopard cubs have been born in a zoo in northern France, a boost for a sub-species that numbers only about 700 in the wild, the head of the facility said Tuesday.

Japan wraps up Pacific whale hunt

12 hours ago

Japan announced Tuesday that it had wrapped up a whale hunt in the Pacific, the second campaign since the UN's top court ordered Tokyo to halt a separate slaughter in the Antarctic.

Researchers uncover secrets of internal cell fine-tuning

12 hours ago

New research from scientists at the University of Kent has shown for the first time how the structures inside cells are regulated – a breakthrough that could have a major impact on cancer therapy development.

User comments : 0