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: Final pieces to the circadian clock puzzle found

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

UN science report: Warming worsens security woes

Mar 30, 2014

In an authoritative report due out Monday a United Nations climate panel for the first time is connecting hotter global temperatures to hotter global tempers. Top scientists are saying that climate change ...

Recommended for you

Final pieces to the circadian clock puzzle found

5 hours ago

Researchers at the UNC School of Medicine have discovered how two genes – Period and Cryptochrome – keep the circadian clocks in all human cells in time and in proper rhythm with the 24-hour day, as well ...

Measuring modified protein structures

9 hours ago

Swiss researchers have developed a new approach to measure proteins with structures that change. This could enable new diagnostic tools for the early recognition of neurodegenerative diseases to be developed.

New insights in survival strategies of bacteria

9 hours ago

Bacteria are particularly ingenious when it comes to survival strategies. They often create a biofilm to protect themselves from a hostile environment, for example during treatment with antibiotics. A biofilm is a bacterial ...

Bangladesh meet begins to save endangered tigers

10 hours ago

Some 140 tiger experts and government officials from 20 countries met in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka on Sunday to review progress towards an ambitious goal of doubling their number in the wild by 2022.

Study solves the bluetongue disease 'overwintering' mystery

Sep 12, 2014

The bluetongue virus, which causes a serious disease that costs the cattle and sheep industries in the United States an estimated $125 million annually, manages to survive the winter by reproducing in the insect that transmits ...

User comments : 0