• In memory of Mr. Richard Hearn, Global Coordinator of Baer’s Pochard Task Force (1971–2024)

    Plenary lecture at the International Workshop on the conservation of Baer’s Pochard ©Prof. Ding Changqing It is with…


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  • Call for 2024 Application to the Asian Waterbird Conservation Fund (AWCF)

    Fion Cheung, AWCF Secretariat The AWCF was established by WWF-Hong Kong in July 2005 to provide financial support for projects at sites of importance for migratory waterbirds (including seabirds) in Asia of the East Asian – Australasian Flyway (EAAF). In late 2019, the AWCF was reformed and two new grants, the WWF Dr Lew Young Grant and the Asian Flyways Initiative Grant (AFI Grant), were set up to extend the support from the EAAF to the Central Asian Flyway (CAF). The goal of the two new Grants is to support projects on the ground in Asia that will lead to the conservation of migratory waterbirds and their habitats in the EAAF and CAF, particularly through partnership with the local community at the site. WWF Dr Lew Young Grant Dr Lew Young was a passionate conservationist dedicated in the conservation of Asia’s wetlands and waterbirds. When he was with WWF-Hong Kong to manage the Mai Po Nature Reserve from 1991 to 2008, he was actively involved in the designation of Mai Po Inner Deep Bay Ramsar Site, launched the wetland management training programme and created education programmes for students and visitors. In 2008, Dr Young was appointed as the Senior Regional Advisor for Asia and Oceania for the Ramsar Secretariat and provided support on the strategic development and effective implementation of the Convention. Dr Young joined the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership Secretariat as Chief Executive in 2018. During his term, he developed the 2019-2028 Strategic Plan and the DPR Korea also joined both the Ramsar Convention and the Partnership. On 5th of March, 2019, Dr. Young passed away while on a working trip to develop conservation actions for the intertidal wetlands of the Yellow Sea in Beijing. In 2019, WWF-Hong Kong set up the WWF Dr Lew Young Grant for his whole-life dedication and significant contribution to wetland conservation. The maximum amount is US$10,000 per one-year project. AFI Grant In 2019, WWF established the Asian Flyways Initiative to coordinate among the various organizations and stakeholders to ensure that both the EAAF and the CAF are conserved so that ecologically connected stepping-stone corridors can be sustained for the long-distance migratory birds, and the wetlands are managed for nature and people. To provide support to the conservation work of wetlands and migratory birds in these two flyways, WWF-Hong Kong established the AFI Grant. The maximum amount is US$5,000 for one-year projects and US$5,000/year for multiple-year projects (2-3 years). More information about the AFI can be found here. There is a single call for application to the AWCF each year. The deadline for the 2024 application is 3 March 2024. For details, please check: https://www.wwf.org.hk/en/reslib/programme_resources/water_wetlands/?16263/res-Asian-Waterbird-Conservation-Fund or contact the AWCF Secretariat by e-mail [email protected].     亞洲水鳥保育基金現正接受申請 張嘉穎, 亞洲水鳥保育基金秘書處   亞洲水鳥保育基金(以下簡稱AWCF)於2005年7月成立,目的是為在東亞—澳大利西亞遷飛區(EAAF)上,於亞洲重要地點上進行的遷徙水鳥(包括海鳥)的保育項目提供資助。AWCF於2019年年底進行了調整,並在旗下成立了「WWF 楊路年博士基金」及「亞洲遷飛區保育行動基金」,希望把資助覆蓋的範圍從EAAF延伸至中亞遷飛區(CAF)。兩個新基金的宗旨是支持在亞洲地區進行的在地保育項目,特別是透過與當地社區合作的項目,保育EAAF和CAF上的遷徙水鳥以及牠們賴以生存的濕地生境。 WWF 楊路年博士基金 楊路年博士是一位一直醉心於亞州濕地及水鳥保育工作的自然保育學者。在1991至2008年,他受聘於世界自然基金會香港分會,負責管理米埔保護區。在此期間,楊博士積極參與把米埔及內后海灣濕地列入國際重要濕地(即拉姆薩爾濕地)的工作,同時開展了濕地管理培訓項目以及針對學生及公眾人士的環境教育工作。 2008年,楊博士出任「拉姆薩爾公約秘書處」亞太區高級主任,專責支持公約的策略性發展及有效執行。十年後,楊博士擔任「東亞—澳大利西亞遷飛區伙伴關係(EAAF Partnership)」執行總裁一職。在任期間不但完成了「東亞—澳大利西亞遷飛區 2019-2028年保育策略」,還協助朝鮮加入成為拉姆薩爾公約的締約國和EAAF Partnership 的合作伙伴。 在2019年3月5日,楊博士在北京開會討論為黃海地區的潮間濕地定立保育行動期間不幸去世。世界自然基金會香港分會特別為他設立「WWF 楊路年博士基金」,以紀念楊博士為水鳥及濕地保育作出的傑出貢獻。基金的最高資助金額為10,000美元(一年項目)。 亞洲遷飛區保育行動基金 在2019年,世界自然基金會開始了「亞洲遷飛區保育行動」,以聯合EAAF和CAF上的不同團體和利益相關者,共同保護兩條遷飛路線上的重要地點,讓長途遷徙鳥類繼續停棲於合適地點,也希望人類可永續利用這些生境。 為支持EAAF和CAF上的濕地和遷徙鳥類的保育工作,世界自然基金會香港分會設立了「亞洲遷飛區保育行動基金」。基金的最高資助金額為5,000美元(一年項目)或5,000美元/年(2-3年項目)。 如欲了解更多關於「亞洲遷飛區保育行動」的資料,請按此(網站只提供英文)。 每年基金只接受一次申請,2024年度的申請截止日期為2024年3月3日。 欲知詳請,請瀏覽: https://www.wwf.org.hk/reslib/programme_resources/water_wetlands/?16263/res-Asian-Waterbird-Conservation-Fund 目前申請表格只設英文版,如欲提交中文申請書,請聯絡亞洲水鳥保育基金秘書處 [email protected]


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  • EAAFP Partners’ Engagement at CMS COP14

    In a week’s time, the 14th Conference…


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  • World Wetlands Day 2024: Wetlands and Human Wellbeing

    Each year on 2 February, we celebrate World Wetlands Day to mark the adoption of the Ramsar Convention…


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  • Sister Site Learning Exchange Programme: Incheon – Hong Kong

    From January 8 to 11, the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership (EAAFP) had the privileged opportunity to join a local delegation visiting Hong Kong…


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  • Japan Showcases National Partnership Strength at EAAFP Meeting

    The East Asian–Australasian Flyway Partnership (EAAFP) Secretariat had the honour of witnessing the lively energy of Japan's National Partnership during a hybrid meeting held from December 7 to 10, 2023.  This event held special significance for our Chief Executive, Jennifer George, who played a key role in crafting the EAAFP National Partnership Guidelines. Masterfully organised by BirdLife International Tokyo on behalf of the Japanese Ministry of the Environment, the gathering brought together a diverse audience, including high-level representatives from national and local governments, passionate NGOs, dedicated academics and researchers, and hardworking site managers and farmers who engaged in lively discussions and knowledge sharing. The meeting wasn't just about words; it was about experience. A pre-dawn visit to a designated Flyway Network Site offered a breathtaking spectacle—hundreds of geese erupting from the mist, ready for their daily forage. Later, a trip to a local rice farm shed light on the unique challenges and admirable efforts of those striving for both sustainable livelihoods and migratory waterbird conservation. Beyond sharing their own experiences, the Japanese participants generously extended their support to other national partners seeking to develop their own National Partnerships. The Secretariat stands ready to facilitate this knowledge exchange and provide any necessary assistance. The Japan National Partnership meeting wasn't just a gathering; it was a testament to the power of collaboration. It showcased the dedication of diverse stakeholders towards a shared goal—protecting the birds that bind us together across the flyway.


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  • Updates on Avian Influenza Situation by FAO/EMPRES-AH (Sep 2023 – Dec 2023)

    The following article is based on a summary provided by Kamata Akiko from the FAO Animal Production and Health division (NSAH): FAO/EMPRES-AH consistently monitors the global avian influenza situation, gathering information from various national and international sources and peer-reviewed scientific articles. Through close collaboration with country and regional offices, the implementation of avian influenza field surveillance projects, and networks of expertise such as WOAH/FAO’s OFFLU (www.offlu.org), timely information on outbreaks, surveillance findings, and genetic similarities of circulating viruses or their virological features is made accessible. This information is stored in the EMPRES Global Animal Disease Information System (EMPRES-i), a database available online at https://empres-i.apps.fao.org/. Between September 3 and December 2, 2023, three distinct subtypes of avian influenza virus were reported in East and South-East Asia. Among these, only H5N1 or H5 were confirmed to be highly pathogenic in poultry. ©EMPRES-I In September, India reported one H5N1 HPAI event in Black Swans and Silver pheasants in a national park in Maharashtra State. The Republic of Korea reported 39 LPAI events in 8 out of 17 provinces, including 35 H5N3 LPAI, one H5N2 LPAI, and two H5 LPAI events in captured or dead wild birds and their droppings — and since November 27, three H5N1 HPAI events in captured or dead wild birds in North Jeolla and North Gyeongsang provinces, and one H5N1 HPAI outbreak on a duck farm in South Jeolla Province. Since October 4, Japan reported 52 events of H5N1 HPAI in 13 out of 47 prefectures among various bird species (e.g., Anatidae, eastern buzzard, eastern spot-billed duck, Eurasian teal, Eurasian wigeon, hooded crane, large-billed crow, mountain hawk-eagle, peregrine falcon, red-crowned crane, Tundra swan, whooper swan, a captive falcon, and its prey) and environmental samples, including water samples from the Izumi Wintering Habitat of Cranes. Since November 24, four H5N1 HPAI outbreaks in layer chickens in four prefectures. China reported one detection of H5N1 HPAI in environmental samples collected from Sihcao Wetland in Tainan City on November 18, along with five outbreaks of H5N1 HPAI in poultry in Tainan City, Chiayi, Miaoli, Yunlin counties, and one detection at a slaughterhouse in Taipei City in Taiwan Province. Indonesia reported an unspecified subtype of HPAI outbreak during September-October. Viet Nam officially reported HPAI outbreaks in domestic birds in Binh Duong, Long An, and Quang Nam provinces, also detecting H5N1 in two markets in Nghe An Province. In Cambodia, a total of four H5N1 HPAI outbreaks in village poultry were reported in Prey Veng and Svay Rieng provinces in October, and in Kampot Province in November. Meanwhile, three cases of human infection with influenza A(H5N1) virus were reported from Cambodia in Prey Veng and Svay Rieng provinces in October and Kampot Province in November. China also reported one case of A(H5N6) in Chongqing in September and one case of A(H9N2) in Sichuan in October. Highly pathogenic H5Nx viruses have demonstrated the ability to spread via migratory water birds. During this period, H5N1 HPAI events have also been reported in wild birds near Antarctica, namely among brown skua in South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, and southern fulmar and black-browed albatross in the Falkland Islands (Malvinas). We consider avian influenza activity in the East Asia flyway area to have increased during this period, so reports of outbreaks in poultry and detections in wild birds and some mammal species are expected to increase over the coming months in the region. The list of bird species affected by H5Nx HPAI globally is available HERE with the new species reported since 2021 highlighted in orange.


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  • Literature list (Jul–Dec 2023)

    1) Biology & Ecology XU, Z., DONG, B., WEI, Z., LU, Z., LIU, X. and XU, H. 2023. Study on habitat suitability change and habitat network of rare wintering cranes in important international wetlands. -Ecological Indicators, 154: 110692. LEU, M., ISDELL, R. E., GALVIN III, R. M., RAPP, A. J., MASON, S. D., BILKOVIC, D. M. and CHAMBERS, R. M. 2023. Comparable use of tidal living shorelines and natural‐fringe marshes by herons and shorebirds. -Ecosphere, 14: e4683. LIANG, D., MU, T., YANG, Z., GIAM, X., WANG, Y., LI, J., CAI, S., ZHANG, X., WANG, Y. and LIU, Y. 2023. Assessing shorebird mortalities due to razor clam aquaculture at key migratory stopover sites in southeastern China. -Conservation Biology: e14185. PENG, H.-B., CHOI, C.-Y., MA, Z., BIJLEVELD, A. I., MELVILLE, D. S. and PIERSMA, T. 2023. Individuals of a group-living shorebird show smaller home range overlap when food availability is low. -Movement Ecology, 11: 70. LYU, C., ZHANG, S., REN, X., LIU, M., LEUNG, K. S. K., HE, T., CHEN, Q. and CHOI, C. Y. 2023. The effect of Spartina alterniflora eradication on waterbirds and benthic organisms. -Restoration Ecology: e14023. PENG, H. B., MA, Z., RAKHIMBERDIEV, E., VAN GILS, J. A., BATTLEY, P. F., ROGERS, D. I., CHOI, C. Y., WU, W., FENG, X. and MA, Q. 2023. Arriving late and lean at a stopover site is selected against in a declining migratory bird population. -Journal of Animal Ecology, 92: 2109-2118. LIU, P., LIU, M., XIAO, D., HE, Y., FAN, R., LU, C., WEN, L., ZENG, Q. and LEI, G. 2023. Scaly-sided Merganser (Mergus squamatus) equalizes foraging costs with depth by switching foraging tactics. -Avian Research, 14: 100129. GU, J., ZHANG, Y., WANG, F. and KONG, Z. 2023. Simulation and analysis of red-crowned crane habitat suitability using maximum entropy and information entropy models. -Ecological Indicators, 155: 110999. CHEN, C., LU, Y., LIU, Y., YAO, Y., CHEN, Y. and LIU, J. 2023. Stimulating effects of whooper swans’ behaviors on nutrient releasing from the sediments caused by different human feeding intensities in the swan Lake, China. -Ecological Indicators, 154: 110818. 2) Conservation & Management XU, M., LIU, Z., SONG, X., WANG, F., WANG, Y., YANG, L., OTAKI, T., SHEN, J., KOMATSU, T. and CHENG, J. 2023. Tidal Variations of Fish Larvae Measured Using a 15-Day Continuous Ichthyoplankton Survey in Subei Shoal: Management Implications for the Red-Crowned Crane (Grus japonensis) Population in Yancheng Nature Reserve. -Animals, 13: 3088. WEI, X., ZHANG, G., JI, Y., YANG, G., LI, Y., SHI, D., ZHENG, H. and PENG, J. 2023. Conservation of Bewick’s swans (Cygnus columbianus bewickii): Insights from the identification of critical stopover sites and migration corridors. -Global Ecology Conservation Biology, 47: e02687. CAI, S., MU, T., PENG, H. B., MA, Z. and WILCOVE, D. S. 2023. Importance of habitat heterogeneity in tidal flats to the conservation of migratory shorebirds. -Conservation Biology: e14153. TANG, N., MA, Y., LI, S., YAN, Y., CHENG, C., LU, G., LI, F., LV, L., QIN, P. and NGUYEN, H. B. 2023. Identifying the Wetlands of International Importance in Beibu Gulf along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, based on multiple citizen science datasets. -Frontiers in Marine Science, 10: 1333889. VONBANK, J. A., COLLINS, D. P., ELLIS, K. S., DONNELLY, J. P. and KNETTER, J. M. 2023. Movement dynamics influence population monitoring and adaptive harvest management strategies in migratory birds. -Global Ecology Conservation Biology, 48: e02715. YI, K., MENG, F., GU, D. and MIAO, Q. 2023. Optimizing Water Level Management Strategies to Strengthen Reservoir Support for Bird’s Migration Network. -Remote Sensing, 15: 5508. LOYN, R. H., ROGERS, D. I., SWINDLEY, R. J., MENKHORST, P. W., STAMATION, K., HAYNES, S., GRAHAM, H., HEPWORTH, G. and STEELE, W. K. 2023. Waterfowl populations decline with nutrient reduction and increase with nutrient restoration: 20 years of adaptive management at a Ramsar-listed wastewater treatment plant. -Hydrobiologia, 850: 4127-4147. Liu, J., C. Yi, S. Tang, W. Zhang, K. Wen, C. Qin, L. Huang, D. Liu, and A. Jiang. 2023. Impact of coastal island restoration engineering and subsequent tourism on migratory waterbirds: a 3‐year case from Southern China. Restoration Ecology: e13974. Li, L., M. Yan, Y. Hong, W. Feng, D. Xie, and E. Pagani-Núñez. 2023. Protecting China’s major urban bird diversity hotspots. Ambio:1-12. Nguyen, P.-T. N., T.-X. Tran, T.-H. Pham, and K.-D. Nguyen. 2023. Livelihoods and human impacts in Tan Thanh mudflat, Tien Giang Province, Vietnam. Research Journal of Biotechnology Vol 18:8. Li, X., X. Hou, K. Shan, Y. Liu, Y. Song, X. Wang, P. Du, and C. Fan. 2023. Identifying shorebird conservation hotspots and restoration gaps in stopover sites: A perspective of ‘ecologically linked’ habitats. Global Ecology and Conservation 48: e02725. Zhang, W., Wei J., Xu Y. 2023. Prioritizing global conservation of migratory birds over their migration network. One Earth Volume 6, Issue 10, P1340-1349. Bhandari, M. 2023. Using Nepal to understand the nexus of climate change and land-use. Strategic Planning for Energy and the Environment. 3) Avian Influenza /Others BARKHASBAATAR, A., GILBERT, M., FINE, A. E., SHIILEGDAMBA, E., DAMDINJAV, B., BUUVEIBAATAR, B., KHISHGEE, B., JOHNSON, C. K., LEUNG, C. Y. and ANKHANBAATAR, U. 2023. Ecological characterization of 175 low‐pathogenicity avian influenza viruses isolated from wild birds in Mongolia, 2009–2013 and 2016– -Veterinary Medicine Science, 9: 2676-2685. XU, Y., TANG, L., GU, X., BO, S., MING, L., MA, M., ZHAO, C., SUN, K., LIU, Y. and HE, G. 2023. Characterization of avian influenza A (H4N2) viruses isolated from wild birds in Shanghai during 2019 to 2021. -Poultry Science, 102: 102948. Liverani, M., K. Song, and J. W. Rudge. 2023. Mapping emerging trends and South–South cooperation in regional knowledge networks: A bibliometric analysis of avian influenza research in Southeast Asia. Journal of International Development. 1) Biology & Ecology Study on habitat suitability change and habitat network of rare wintering cranes in important international wetlands XU, Z., DONG, B., WEI, Z., LU, Z., LIU, X. and XU, H. Abstract: Chongming Dongtan wetland is a typical estuarine wetland, located in Chongming District, Shanghai, China, with high ecological significance. The protection of wintering crane's habitat has attracted the wide attention of the international community. Because of the importance of the region in the protection of international biodiversity and the protection of crane habitats, it is of great reference value to study the habitat suitability changes of rare wintering cranes with spatial and temporal distribution characteristics and the distribution of habitat corridors with spatial characteristics, to improve the habitat quality of crane habitats in globally important wetlands. Based on the remote sensing image data of Chongming Dongtan and the field survey data of rare wintering cranes, this study obtained the land use change of Chongming Dongtan from 1986 to 2021 by ENVI and ArcGIS10.8 software, evaluated the habitat suitability of wintering cranes in 36 years by GIS technology, and constructed the habitat corridor of wintering cranes by using the minimum cumulative resistance model(MCR). The results showed that from 1986 to 2021, the number of four typical wintering cranes in Chongming Dongtan showed a general downward trend. In the past 36 years, the habitat suitability of wintering cranes in the internationally important wetland of Chongming Dongtan has gradually changed from a suitable area to an unsuitable area. The suitable areas are mainly distributed in the eastern and northern parts of the study area, and the unsuitable areas are mainly distributed in the western construction land area. The habitat quality of cranes is deteriorating. The overall resistance distribution of Chongming Dongtan in 2021 shows a trend of low resistance value in the east and high resistance value in the west, and the degree of obstruction is strong in the south and weak in the north. There are 208 potential habitat corridors for wintering cranes in Chongming Dongtan, with a total length of 377.12 km. Get 127 Habitat nodes. The density of habitat corridors in the eastern part of the study area is significantly higher than that in the western region, and the ecological space in the eastern region is well connected. Finally, this study proposes the identification of important habitat corridors based on gravity model and the analysis of habitat network structure based on graph theory, which provides a reference for improving the stability of habitat network by means of habitat node optimization, stepping stone increase and ecological restoration. This study is different from previous studies on large-scale ecological conditions such as cities or urban coastal zones. From the perspective of the construction of regional wetland rare species habitat network and the protection of international important wetland biodiversity with important ecological value, it is helpful to optimize the suitable habitat pattern of rare overwintering cranes and provide a method basis for the protection of rare species habitat and the construction of habitat network in regional wetlands. At the same time, Chongming Dongtan is the only internationally important wetland in Shanghai. Wintering cranes are the most important biological resources of wetlands. The study of habitat suitability changes and habitat networks can effectively promote the development of internationally important wetland cities in Shanghai. Comparable use of tidal living shorelines and natural-fringe marshes by herons and shorebirds LEU, M., ISDELL, R. E., GALVIN III, R. M., RAPP, A. J., MASON, S. D., BILKOVIC, D. M. and CHAMBERS, R. M. Abstract: Living shorelines (LSs) increasingly are implemented as a defense against coastal erosion and rising seas; however, their ecological function for wading birds has not been evaluated. Here, we compared heron and shorebird use of LSs (created fringe salt marshes with a wave break fronting the planted marshes) to natural-fringe marshes (NFMs) in the Chesapeake Bay. We assessed the use between May and August in 2018 and 2019 at 13 tidal marsh pairs, each consisting of one LS and NFM site, with sites within pairs having similar surrounding land use and wave exposure. In each year, we assessed diurnal use with video cameras recording at least four 30-min segments/day for a total of 677 h of video, and nocturnal/diurnal use with acoustic recording equipment recording 10-min sound files every 2 h/day for a total of 160 h of recording. We quantified diurnal use by measuring the total time a species spent at a site, and nocturnal/diurnal use by estimating the probability of detection (i.e., presence/absence). We detected four heron and five shorebird species when data were aggregated across pairs and sampling methods. Using Bayesian mixed models, time of use did not differ between LS and NFM sites for great blue herons (Ardea herodias) and yellow-crowned night-herons (Nyctanassa violacea). In contrast, time of use was higher for green herons (Butorides virescens) and spotted sandpipers (Actitis macularis) at LS sites but tended to be higher for great egrets (Ardea alba) at NFM sites. The probability of detection did not differ between LS and NFM sites for great blue herons and great egrets (combined as “Ardea spp.” due to difficulty in differentiating calls under noisy conditions), yellow-crowned night-herons, and spotted sandpipers. Green herons and killdeer (Charadrius vociferous), however, tended to be detected more frequently at LS sites. Collectively, our research indicates that LSs are functionally equivalent to NFMs for herons and shorebirds. We hypothesize that the low-profile rock sills of LS provide platforms for resting and preening and offer prey even when vegetated marshes are unavailable to short-legged species during flooding tides. In addition to their established reduction of coastal erosion, LSs provide habitat for herons and shorebird species. Assessing shorebird mortalities due to razor clam aquaculture at key migratory stopover sites in southeastern China LIANG, D., MU, T., YANG, Z., GIAM, X., WANG, Y., LI, J., CAI, S., ZHANG, X., WANG, Y. and LIU, Y. Abstract: Aquaculture can provide foraging habitat for birds, but it can also result in intentional and accidental mortality. We examined an overlooked conflict between razor clam (Sinonovacula spp.) aquaculture and declining shorebirds in southeastern China's Fujian and Zhejiang provinces. We surveyed 6 out of 11 internationally important stopover sites for these shorebirds and monitored shorebird mortality in 2 sites (Xinghua Bay, Yueqing Bay) with razor clam aquaculture. We visited an additional 32 sites in these 2 provinces to determine if there was netting in other razor clam farms. Approximately 8–9 km2 of intertidal foraging habitat was covered by horizontal nets to prevent birds from feeding on young razor clams at Xinghua Bay and Yueqing Bay. We conservatively estimated that 13,676 (2.5th–97.5th percentile 8,330–21,285) individual shorebirds were entangled in the nets at the 2 monitored sites in April and May 2021, including 2 endangered and 7 near-threatened species. Mortality of 5 species for which we had sufficient data accounted for 0.76% (black-tailed godwit [Limosa limosa]) to 4.27% (terek sandpiper [Xenus cinereus]) of their total flyway populations. This level of mortality could strongly affect their populations. We found netting at 17 additional razor clam farms, indicating a widespread threat to shorebirds. Although razor clams are typically harvested in late March to early April, nets are left on the mudflats throughout the spring and summer, including when the bulk of shorebird migration takes place. Immediately removing these nets after the clam harvest could prevent most of the spring mortality of shorebirds, although this is unlikely to happen without government regulations or economic incentives. To better assess and mitigate the impacts of this conflict, future research should quantify shorebird mortality at other razor clam farms, including during winter, explore less harmful deterrence methods, and assess the socioeconomic factors driving the conflict. Individuals of a group-living shorebird show smaller home range overlap when food availability is low PENG, H.-B., CHOI, C.-Y., MA, Z., BIJLEVELD, A. I., MELVILLE, D. S. and PIERSMA, T. Abstract: Group living animals, such as shorebirds foraging on intertidal mudflats, may use social information about where to find hidden food items. However, flocking also increases intraspecific competition for resources, which may be exacerbated by food scarcity. Therefore, although aggregation may bring benefits, it may also increase the intensity of intraspecific competition. We examined this trade-off in adult great knots Calidris tenuirostris, a molluscivorous long-distance migrating shorebird species, using interannual variation based on 2 years with different levels of food availability during their northward migratory staging in the northern Yellow Sea, China. We estimated individual home ranges and the extent of spatial overlap of home ranges of individually tagged birds in 2012 and 2015, whilst discounting for possible differences in body size, body mass, sex and migration schedule between years. We found that home range size was not associated with body mass, arrival date, body size, or sex of the individual. Despite a significant difference in food availability between the two study years, there was no significant change in the 50% and 95% home range size of great knots in the contrasting situations. However, there was a significantly smaller spatial overlap between individuals in the year when food was less available, suggesting that great knots operated more independently when food was scarce than when it was abundant. These results suggest that minimizing intraspecific competition became more important when food was scarce. Where it is impossible to monitor all habitats en route, monitoring the local movements of shorebirds may offer a way to detect changes in habitat quality in real time. The effect of Spartina alterniflora eradication on waterbirds and benthic organisms LYU, C., ZHANG, S., REN, X., LIU, M., LEUNG, K. S. K., HE, T., CHEN, Q. and CHOI, C. Y. Abstract: There has been an increasing number of coastal restoration projects to eradicate Smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora) and restore bare tidal flats to conserve waterbirds. However, the evidence for the assumed benefits to waterbirds and benthic organisms after such restoration efforts remains limited. We evaluated the impact of S. alterniflora eradication on waterbirds and benthic organisms in southern China. We deployed time-lapse cameras and satellite trackers to quantify and compare the occurrence frequency and habitat use of birds in different habitats. We compared the density and biomass of benthic organisms collected in bare tidal flats and areas where S. alterniflora had been eradicated. We found that almost all waterbirds, except gulls, avoided areas where S. alterniflora was present. Once S. alterniflora was eradicated, the species richness and species-level diversity of shorebirds and waterbirds did not differ significantly from those of the bare tidal flats. At least 9 out of 14 tracked individual shorebirds used areas where S. alterniflora had been eradicated, with Common Redshank (Tringa totanus) demonstrating a clear preference for such habitat. The density and biomass of benthos in deeper sediments (5–20 cm below the surface) were significantly lower in areas where S. alterniflora had been eradicated than in bare tidal flats, indicating that the food resources for birds may take longer than 1 year to recover. This research demonstrates that the eradication of S. alterniflora is important for the restoration of waterbird habitats, and such efforts should be made in areas that are important to waterbirds. Arriving late and lean at a stopover site is selected against in a declining migratory bird population PENG, H. B., MA, Z., RAKHIMBERDIEV, E., VAN GILS, J. A., BATTLEY, P. F., ROGERS, D. I., CHOI, C. Y., WU, W., FENG, X. and MA, Q. Abstract: Loss and/or deterioration of refuelling habitats have caused population declines in many migratory bird species but whether this results from unequal mortality among individuals varying in migration traits remains to be shown. Based on 13 years of body mass and size data of great knots (Calidris tenuirostris) at a stopover site of the Yellow Sea, combined with resightings of individuals marked at this stopover site along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, we assessed year to year changes in annual apparent survival rates, and how apparent survival differed between migration phenotypes (i.e. migration timing and fuel stores). The measurements occurred over a period of habitat loss and/or deterioration in this flyway. We found that the annual apparent survival rates of great knots rapidly declined from 2006 to 2018, late-arriving individuals with small fuel stores exhibiting the lowest apparent survival rate. There was an advancement in mean arrival date and an increase in the mean fuel load of stopping birds over the study period. Our results suggest that late-arriving individuals with small fuel loads were selected against. Thus, habitat loss and/or deterioration at staging sites may cause changes in the composition of migratory phenotypes at the population-level. Scaly-sided Merganser (Mergus squamatus) equalizes foraging costs with depth by switching foraging tactics LIU, P., LIU, M., XIAO, D., HE, Y., FAN, R., LU, C., WEN, L., ZENG, Q. and LEI, G. Abstract: Throughout evolutionary history, animals are finely tuned to adjust their behaviors corresponding to environmental variations. Behavioral flexibility represents an important component of a species' adaptive capacity in the face of rapid anthropogenetic environmental change, and knowledge of animal behaviors is increasingly recognized in conservation biology. In aquatic ecosystem, variation of water depth is a key factor affecting the availability of food; thus, the foraging behaviors of many waterbirds, especially piscivores. In this study, we compared the foraging behaviors of the Scaly-sided Merganser (Mergus squamatus), an endangered migratory diving duck endemic to East Asia, in habitats with different water depths (Shallow waters: 0–40 ​cm; Deep waters: 40–300 ​cm), using video camera records obtained from the known wintering sites during three winters from 2018 to 2020. Further, the energy expenditure of foraging behavior profile and energy intake based on fish sizes were calculated to study the foraging energetics. In total, 200 effective video footages that contained 1086 ​min with 17,995 behaviors and 163 events of catching fish were recorded. Results showed that: 1) time length for fishing (including eye-submerging, head-dipping, diving and food handling) of M. squamatus in shallow waters was significantly more than in deep waters; 2) M. squamatus spent significantly more time for preparing (including vigilance, preening and swimming) in deep waters than in shallow waters; 3) the mean catch rate was 0.28 fish/min in shallow waters, which is significantly higher than the value of 0.13 fish/min in deep waters; 4) despite the distinct foraging behavior profiles and energy intakes, M. squamatus showed similar energetics in shallow and deep waters. We concluded that M. squamatus is a good example of behavioral flexibility that aligns with expectations of optimal foraging theory, in that it behaves in accordance to resource availability in different environments, resulting in high foraging efficiency. Simulation and analysis of red-crowned crane habitat suitability using maximum entropy and information entropy models GU, J., ZHANG, Y., WANG, F. and KONG, Z. Abstract: The red-crowned crane (Grus japonensis) is a rare waterfowl species that is sensitive to environmental changes in its habitat selection; as such it effectively reflects the variation in wetland landscapes. Therefore, analysis of the habitat suitability for the red-crowned crane can be used to determine the species requirements and to predict its potential habitat distribution, thereby providing a basis for the protection of wetlands and endangered species. In this study, the Landsat satellite remote sensing data of Zhalong Wetland from 1996 to 2019 were used to simulate the nest coordinates of red-crowned cranes using a binary logistic model and to simulate the distribution of suitable habitat via a maximum entropy model. Moreover, an information entropy model was used to examine the yearly changes in habitat suitability and the underlying mechanisms and influencing factors. These two entropy models were combined to simulate the habitat suitability distribution and variation with high accuracy, determine the contribution rates of influencing factors, and provide data for analyzing interannual changes. The following results were obtained. First, the habitat suitability was highest in the center, core area and decreased towards the periphery of Zhalong Wetland. Second, the habitat suitability increased in some regions in the south, decreased in some areas in the north, and remained unchanged in the majority of the peripheral regions. Third, habitat suitability was primarily impacted by landscape patterns, distances to rivers and ditches, and vegetation. Red-crowned cranes preferred to reside far from human disturbance in wetlands near rivers with reeds (Phragmites australis) as the dominant species. Stimulating effects of whooper swans’ behaviors on nutrient releasing from the sediments caused by different human feeding intensities in the swan Lake, China CHEN, C., LU, Y., LIU, Y., YAO, Y., CHEN, Y. and LIU, J. Abstract: In many shallow water lakes of China, as the numbers of tourists observing waterflow increases, the amount of supplemental food provided to waterflow also increases. However, little attention has been paid to the role of waterfowl’s behavior perturbation in N and P nutrients releasing from the sediment. In this study, five feeding experiments were undertaken in the Swan Lake (Shandong Province, northern China) during the wintering season and a noticeable release of nutrients in all experiments was found by the disturbance of the swan behaviors. The release of TN and TP was through three stages including the non-release stage, the rapid release stage, and the stable release stage. Moreover, supplemental food also influenced the swan behavior changes and triggered the frequency of the swans’ grazing and aggression. The aggressive behaviors among the swans stirred nutrient (N & P) releasing from sediments and altered TN and TP concentrations in the water columns, indicating that the aggressive behaviors may be a significant factor in affecting the TN and TP releasing from the sediment. Human feeding intensity (HFI) suggested > 850 g of supplemental corn can be an optimal way to aid in avoiding foraging competition among the swans to control nutrient release by three levels of human feeding intensity assessment. Our findings demonstrate that under the swans’ optimal foraging need in natural versus artificial feeding scenarios, the swans acted as biological pumps to increase nutrient release. There is a need for a systematic and evidence-based feeding strategy for swans, with greater restrictions on the provision of small food items scattered by visitors. Our study provided novel insights into the release mechanism of N and P from bioturbation and could help to inform a whooper swan conservation strategy in coastal wetlands and nature reserves.   2) Conservation & Management Tidal Variations of Fish Larvae Measured Using a 15-Day Continuous Ichthyoplankton Survey in Subei Shoal: Management Implications for the Red-Crowned Crane (Grus japonensis) Population in Yancheng Nature Reserve XU, M., LIU, Z., SONG, X., WANG, F., WANG, Y., YANG, L., OTAKI, T., SHEN, J., KOMATSU, T. and CHENG, J. Abstract: The National Yancheng Rare Birds Nature Reserve is a vitally important staging habitat for the wild population of red-crowned cranes (Grus japonensis) in China. The population relies on local high-protein food sources, such as fish juveniles, to fuel their migratory journeys. However, little is known about the ecology of the fish larvae and juveniles that migrate to the inshore area via tidal rhythm in Subei Shoal, which is adjacent to the reserve. Therefore, we used a fixed study station (32°55′1.2″ N, 121°19′58.8″ E) to conduct a continuous 15-day ichthyoplankton survey at 2 h intervals beginning at 05:00 on 25 April and ending at 03:00 on 10 May 2019. We identified the tidal variations in the number of fish larvae and juveniles and the number at various developmental stages and assessed how they were related to environmental variables such as sea surface temperature, salinity, turbidity, and tidal height in the Dafeng Sea area of Subei Shoal. We found that the number of species and larval individuals were highest and lowest, respectively, at the highest and lowest tidal height, and they obviously increased and decreased with the rising and ebb tide, respectively. Our findings indicate that the variation in numbers of the larvae and juveniles depends on species and developmental stage. The species Acanthogobius ommaturus, Pholis fangi, Cynoglossus joyneri, Liza haematocheila, and Lateolabrax japonicus and the total number of larvae were most influenced by tidal height. These results provide a better understanding of the habitat of prey species of the red-crowned crane wild population as well as scientific data that can be applied to manage the wild population in the reserve sustainably. Conservation of Bewick’s swans (Cygnus columbianus bewickii): Insights from the identification of critical stopover sites and migration corridors WEI, X., ZHANG, G., JI, Y., YANG, G., LI, Y., SHI, D., ZHENG, H. and PENG, J. Abstract: Migratory birds face diverse threats during migration. Critical stopover sites (CSSs) are essential refueling and resting sites for migratory birds that ensure their complete migration and survival. Therefore, identifying bird migration patterns, routes, and critical habitats is vital for conservation. From 2018–2022, we deployed satellite tracking devices on 30 Bewick’s swans (Cygnus columbianus bewickii) wintering in China to determine their migration routes. Using a dynamic Brownian bridge movement model, we identified migration corridors, core movement areas, and CSSs for Bewick’s swans. Combining protected area databases and human settlement types, we further assessed the swans’ conservation status and human impacts on CSSs. The results showed that Bewick’s swans migrated north from their wintering grounds using one of three routes (west, middle, and east), passing through Mongolia to reach the Russian Arctic (breeding grounds) in spring. They followed similar routes during autumn to return to wintering grounds. We found a new middle route within the East Asian–Australasian Flyway (EAAF) and several northward expanded wintering sites. Our study revealed similarities and differences in the spring and autumn migrations, with longer stopover durations in spring due to migration strategies and ice conditions. Moreover, our findings identified the Inner Mongolia region, the Songnen Plain, the Bohai Rim of China, and the main streams of the Lena River and the Ob River of Russia as CSSs for Bewick’s swans. However, the conservation status of the CSSs was relatively low; and the situation was more severe in spring than in autumn, only 4.3% of the total area was protected, likely due to the distribution of farmland and urban areas. Specifically, 14.3% of the CSSs in China were in urban areas during spring, while in Mongolia and Russia this figure was less than 1%. Therefore, it is necessary to balance waterbird conservation with sustainable agriculture and urban development. This research contributes to our understanding of the migratory ecology of Bewick’s swans wintering in China. The identified migration corridors and CSSs are crucial for the future conservation of swans along the EAAF. Importance of habitat heterogeneity in tidal flats to the conservation of migratory shorebirds CAI, S., MU, T., PENG, H. B., MA, Z. and WILCOVE, D. S. Abstract: Understanding species distribution patterns and what determines them is critical for effective conservation planning and management. In the case of shorebirds migrating along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway (EAAF), the loss of stopover habitat in the Yellow Sea region is thought to be the primary reason for the precipitous population declines. However, the rates of decline vary considerably among species, and it remains unclear how such differences could arise within a group of closely related species using apparently similar habitats at the same locales. We mapped the spatial distributions of foraging shorebirds, as well as biotic (benthic invertebrates consumed by migrating shorebirds) and abiotic (sediment characteristics) environmental factors, at a key stopover site in eastern China. Five of the six sediment characteristics showed significant spatial variation with respect to distance along the shoreline or distance from the seawall in the same tidal flat. The biomasses of four of the six most abundant benthic invertebrates were concentrated in the upper or middle zones of the tidal flat. The distribution patterns of all three focal shorebird species on the tidal flat were best explained jointly by this heterogeneity of sediment characteristics and invertebrate prey. These results suggest that the loss of tidal flats along the Yellow Sea, which is typically concentrated at the upper and middle zones, may not only reduce the overall amount of staging habitat, but also disproportionately affect the most resource-rich portions for the birds. Effective conservation of shorebird staging areas along the EAAF and likely elsewhere must consider the subtle habitat heterogeneity that characterizes these tidal flats, prioritizing the protection of those portions richest in food resources, most frequently used by focal bird species, and most vulnerable to anthropogenic threats. Identifying the wetlands of international importance in Beibu Gulf along the East Asian – Australasian Flyway, based on multiple citizen science datasets TANG, N., MA, Y., LI, S., YAN, Y., CHENG, C., LU, G., LI, F., LV, L., QIN, P. and NGUYEN, H. B. Abstract: The Beibu Gulf (Gulf of Tonkin, Vinh Bac Bo in Vietnamese), located midway along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway (EAAF), is a critical stopover and wintering region for migratory waterbirds. This transboundary coastal region, spanning between China and Vietnam, harbors diverse wetland habitats that provide refuge to waterbird species, including highly threatened species such as the spoon-billed sandpiper (CR) and the black-faced spoonbill (EN). However, the scarcity of comprehensive assessments regarding waterbird abundances, distribution, key wetland habitats, and regional threats hinders our understanding of its conservation significance at the flyway level. Further research is needed to address these knowledge gaps and facilitate effective conservation efforts in the Beibu Gulf. By synthesizing accessible citizen science datasets and published records from wetland sites in south China and northeast Vietnam, we concluded that at least 97 waterbird species used the Gulf’s wetlands during their annual cycle. Among surveys conducted from 2014 to 2022, 5 and 11 waterbird species were considered as first and second class protected species under the National Key Protected Wild Animal List in China; 2 species were listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List, 4 as Endangered and 2 as Vulnerable, underlying the critical importance of the Beibu Gulf for the survival of these species. Our study identified 25 sites in the Beibu Gulf that met the criteria for designation as internationally important wetlands. Alarmingly, less than a quarter (n = 5, or 20%) of these sites benefit from national or international protection. Localized threats, including aquatic resource harvesting, hunting, and aquaculture/fisheries, were widespread in the region. This study provides a crucial scientific baseline for continued waterbird monitoring, site prioritization, and the development of effective habitat management plans to conserve vital coastal wetland habitats in the Beibu Gulf in China and Vietnam. Movement dynamics influence population monitoring and adaptive harvest management strategies in migratory birds VONBANK, J. A., COLLINS, D. P., ELLIS, K. S., DONNELLY, J. P. and KNETTER, J. M. Abstract: Informed population monitoring efforts are essential for sound management of harvested species, and adaptive strategies that provide detailed information to monitoring efforts often require data inputs from complimentary sources. Movement ecology information is seldom directly incorporated into population monitoring or adaptive harvest management strategies, yet can provide valuable information on species distributions, emigration and immigration rates, and aid in determining optimal population monitoring timing. The Rocky Mountain Population (RMP) of Sandhill Cranes is a harvested population subject to a stringent adaptive harvest management framework and an annual aerial survey to estimate population abundance, but movements of Sandhill Cranes during survey windows, and subsequent changes to harvest quotas based on their movement and distribution have not been investigated. We used seven years of GPS tracking data to estimate state-specific emigration and immigration rates, using a Bayesian multi-state capture-recapture model, among states within the RMP distribution to understand how seasonal crane movements may influence optimal aerial survey timing. We then leveraged these transition probabilities in conjunction with aerial survey count data to model how changes in aerial survey timing and movement-informed crane distribution would influence the current RMP Sandhill Crane adaptive harvest management model resulting in estimated changes to harvest allocation among states based on Sandhill Crane movement. We found that Sandhill Crane emigration from northern states began to increase the week of the aerial survey in late September, and continued to increase as autumn migration progressed into October. As expected, immigration to southern states began as emigration from northern states increased. Importantly, little movement among states occurred prior to the current aerial survey design timing. Overall, we found that current survey timing and shortly thereafter (∼1 week) did not greatly influence estimates of Sandhill Crane distribution, and did not greatly influence the harvest reallocation to each state until mid to late October (range of −42–+52 tag allocation change), much later than the current survey design would allow. Using GPS locations, we found that optimal population monitoring efforts could be improved to account for both detection and seasonal movements, while minimally influencing current adaptive harvest management strategies to stakeholders. Linking movement ecology with population monitoring efforts and subsequently adaptive harvest management strategies yields insightful information that can be beneficial for conservation planning, decision-making, and optimal species management of a migratory bird. Optimizing Water Level Management Strategies to Strengthen Reservoir Support for Bird’s Migration Network YI, K., MENG, F., GU, D. and MIAO, Q. Abstract: Migratory waterbirds depend on a complex network of wetlands globally for their life cycles. However, habitat loss and degradation pose risks to these networks’ sustainability, potentially impacting wetland habitat availability. This study investigates the impact of water level changes in Beijing’s Miyun Reservoir on white-naped cranes’ (Antigone vipio) habitat use. We utilized satellite imagery from 2000–2021 and monthly data from 2018–2023 to observe changes in the reservoir’s water and land areas. Additionally, the study tracked 32 cranes using GSM-GPS loggers, yielding insights into their movement patterns and habitat preferences. Our findings emphasize the significant influence of reservoir water levels on habitat availability for these cranes. Notably, our results indicate that the decrease in suitable migratory bird habitats in the reservoir is primarily attributed to high-water level management strategies. This study highlights the necessity for balanced management of aquatic and terrestrial areas in reservoir ecosystems to preserve migratory waterbird habitats. Waterfowl populations decline with nutrient reduction and increase with nutrient restoration: 20 years of adaptive management at a Ramsar-listed wastewater treatment plant LOYN, R. H., ROGERS, D. I., SWINDLEY, R. J., MENKHORST, P. W., STAMATION, K., HAYNES, S., GRAHAM, H., HEPWORTH, G. and STEELE, W. Abstract: Nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus are typically considered detrimental to wetland values, but waterfowl can be numerous on nutrient-rich wetlands. Waterfowl were counted three to six times per year on nine treatment lagoons and associated wetlands (2,025 ha) at the Western Treatment Plant (south-east Australia) from 2000, to help maintain ecological values of this Ramsar-listed wetland as well as treating sewage for a large city (Melbourne). Up to 185,000 waterfowl were counted, varying with season, continental rainfall and lagoon operation. Nutrient levels were reduced on Lake Borrie lagoon in 2005 (as part of an Environmental Improvement Program) and restored in 2015. Waterfowl declined on Lake Borrie lagoon from 2005 when it received treated effluent not raw sewage, and increased in 2015 when it received partially treated sewage. This pattern was highly significant for total waterfowl and most species and guilds at Lake Borrie but was not replicated on other lagoons. Modelling revealed positive relationships between waterfowl numbers and nutrient concentrations, including ammonia and nitrite, to moderate levels. This shows that with careful management nutrient enrichment can have positive benefits, allowing artificial wetlands such as wastewater treatment plants to support high densities of waterbirds and the food webs that sustain them. Impact of coastal island restoration engineering and subsequent tourism on migratory waterbirds: a 3-year case from Southern China J Liu, C Yi, S Tang, W Zhang, K Wen, C Qin, L Huang, D Liu, A Jiang Abstract: Coastal engineering poses a significant threat to the survival of migratory waterbirds worldwide. However, the mechanisms through which engineering affects waterbirds are still unclear. To gain a better understanding of this issue, we conducted a three-year survey of waterbirds on Shanxinsha Island, which underwent restoration engineering, along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. We compared the seasonal migratory change among different species groups through and after the island restoration engineering. We observed a total monthly maximum count of 118,506 individuals from 61 waterbird species over the span of 38 months, including eight globally threatened species and five species that exceeded 1% of the flyway population. Throughout the survey periods, the average number of total waterbirds and small shorebirds observed during the migrating season decreased by 52.7 and 48.6%, respectively. The massive loss of high-tide roosting areas was the primary factor contributing to this decline. The combined effects of increased vegetation and deeper water levels resulted in a 38.8% reduction in exposed tidal flat area, as determined through land cover verification and fractional vegetation cover calculations. While tourism activities exhibited fewer negative consequences compared to island restoration engineering, they had a greater impact on small breeding shorebirds. Our study showed that small shorebirds were particularly susceptible to island restoration engineering, whereas large shorebirds and swimming birds were more flexible in their use of roosting or foraging sites. We suggest that the impact of future coastal engineering requires more detailed assessment and monitoring, especially for small migratory shorebirds. Protecting China's major urban bird diversity hotspots L Li, M Yan, Y Hong, W Feng, D Xie, E Pagani-Núñez Abstract: The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework puts forward a new conservation target to enhance urban biodiversity. Cities have a great potential for sustaining biodiversity and nurturing a healthy relationship between people and our nearest nature. It is especially important in developing countries such as China, which has a rich biodiversity and a rapidly growing urban population. Using citizen science data, we show that 48% of the national bird diversity and 42% of its threatened species have been recorded in the top-20 most avian-diverse cities of China. Urban bird diversity hotspots clustered along the eastern coast, indicating the importance of establishing an inter-city conservation network along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. This urban conservation network would be a starting point to promote social recognition of biodiversity's relational value in a country with a vast population and an increasingly important role in meeting UN's Sustainable Development Goals. Livelihoods and human impacts in Tan Thanh mudflat, Tien Province, Vietnam PTN Nguyen, TX Tran, TH Pham, KD Nguyen Abstract: Tan Thanh mudflat in Tien Giang Province is one of the important wetlands of the Mekong Delta in Southern Vietnam. International conservation organizations have proposed this area to be an important bird and biodiversity area - IBAs because of the near location to the core of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway of migratory birds and providing feeding habitats for local shorebirds and endangered migratory species such as the Spoon-billed Sandpiper (Calidris pygmaea). To understand the threats human beings have on this proposed protected wetland, we conducted a study in August 2022 to assess the impacts of local community activities on the area. We used structured interviews with a site survey and mapping as the main methods of the study. The result showed that anthropogenic causes including agrochemical overuse, solid waste pollution, frequent disturbances from clam harvesting activities and illegal wild bird catching to protect cultivated farms, caused adverse impacts on the area. The study also revealed that the local communities have not been fully aware of the responsibility of protecting wild birds and the coastal environment. We suggested that to conserve the wetland successfully, we need to do further studies to fully understand the values of the wetland services to the wild birds and local communities and then engage relevant stakeholders to find solutions for improving public awareness about the importance of the wetland and inclusively protecting the area for sustainable development. Identifying shorebird conservation hotspots and restoration gaps in stopover sites: A perspective of 'ecologically linked' habitats Li, Xiaowei, Hou, Xiyong, Shan, Kai, Liu, Yubin, Song, Yang, Wang, Xiaoli, Du, Peipei, Fan, Chao Abstract: Shorebird populations are declining around the world, which has prompted concerns regarding tidal flat protection during migration. The lack of high-tide roosts not only can limit the access of shorebirds to tidal flats but also means that they expend more energy when moving between tidal flats and roosting sites. This situation can negatively affect their body condition. This highlights the importance of maintaining a network of tidal flats and high-tide roosts "ecologically linked" by shorebirds. Using the Yellow River Delta (YRD), a key stopover site in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway (EAAF), as the case study area, we assessed how the availability of optimal high-tide roosts has changed over time and identified conservation hotspots and restoration gaps from the perspective of ecological connectivity for shorebirds. Based on a developed Geographic Information System (GIS) method, combined with knowledge of shorebird roost choices from the literature and remote sensing data, we evaluated the adequacy of high-tide roosts in the YRD over 20 years (2000-2020) and identified restoration areas by scenario analysis. The results showed that 1) the mean distance between potential intertidal habitats and the nearest optimal high-tide habitat increased from 1305 m in 2000 to 2931 m in 2020, with a 30 % decline in the area of intertidal habitats suitably covered by optimal high-tide habitats for shorebirds in Group 1 (body length <= 20 cm) in the YRD; 2) the scenario analysis suggested that this gap can be eliminated by seasonal management of mariculture ponds and salt pans in key areas. This approach is likely applicable to stopover sites throughout the EAAF. Integrating suitable habitat dynamics under typical hydrological regimes as guides for the conservation and restoration of different waterbird groups Zhang, Pingyang, Zhang, Siqi, Zou, Yeai, Wu, Ting, Li, Feng, Deng, Zhengmiao, Zhang, Hong, Song, Yucheng, Xie, Yonghong Abstract: The operation of the Three Gorges Project (TGP) has influenced the wetland ecosystems downstream, thereby affecting the distribution of habitats suitable for waterbirds. However, dynamic studies on habitat distribution under different water regimes are lacking. Here, using data from three successive wintering periods representing three typical water regimes, we modelled and mapped the habitat suitability of three waterbird groups in Dongting Lake, which is the first river-connected lake downstream of the TGP, and a crucial wintering ground for waterbirds along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. The results showed that the spatial pattern of habitat suitability varied among the wintering periods and waterbird groups. The analysis estimated the largest suitable habitat area for the herbivorous/tuber-eating group (HTG) and the insectivorous waterbird group (ING) under a normal water recession pattern, whereas early water recession had a more adverse effect. The suitable habitat area for the piscivorous/omnivorous group (POG) was higher under late water recession than under normal conditions. The ING was the most affected by hydrological changes among the three waterbird groups. Further, we identified the key conservation and potential restoration habitats. The HTG exhibited the largest key con-servation habitat area compared to the other two groups, while the ING showed a potential restoration habitat area larger than its key conservation habitat area, indicating its sensitivity to environmental changes. The optimal inundation durations from September 1 to January 20 for HTG, ING and POG were 52 & PLUSMN; 7 d, 68 & PLUSMN; 18 d, and 132 & PLUSMN; 22 d, respectively. Therefore, the water recession starting in mid-October may be favourable for waterbirds in Dongting Lake. Altogether, our results can be used as guidance for prioritising certain management actions for waterbird conservation. Moreover, our study highlighted the importance of considering habitat spatiotemporal variation in highly dynamic wetlands when implementing management practices. Prioritizing global conservation of migratory birds over their migration network Zhang Wenyuan, Wei Jie, Xu Yanjie Summary: Halting and reversing biodiversity loss is a grand challenge in the Anthropocene, which suggests an urgent need to effectively protect key areas that support species sustainability. However, large knowledge gaps exist in determining those key areas for migratory species and the extent to which they are protected, albeit with the essential and indispensable functions that migratory species perform in biodiversity conservation. Here, we used over 390 million community-contributed bird observations to derive order-specific, spatially explicit estimates of annual migration networks for 26 bird orders across the world. We found that 35% of the overall 343 important sites that strongly connect the migration network across the annual cycle of global migratory birds are uncovered by protected areas. This leads to nearly 87% of 1,862 migratory bird species being at risk. Migratory species benefit more from considering various levels of site importance to safeguard network integrity, with conservation efforts across countries. Using Nepal to understand the nexus of climate change and land-use Bhandari Medani Abstract: The nexus between land use and climate change is a critical aspect of sustainable development, and few places show this inter-relationship better than Nepal. This paper uses Nepal as an example to explore the interconnections between land use and climate change, highlighting the key challenges and opportunities. Nepal, with its diverse topography and ecosystems, is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. The country’s unique land use patterns, including agriculture, forest cover, and urbanization, play a significant role in shaping its climate resilience and carbon balance. This paper highlights the complex relationship between land use and climate change in such an environment. Balancing land use practices, conserving forests, and biodiversity, and promoting sustainable agriculture are essential for achieving climate resilience and sustainable development. The paper shows that only by addressing the nexus between land use and climate change, can Nepal move towards a more sustainable and climate-resilient future. 3) Avian Influenza /Others Ecological characterization of 175 low-pathogenicity avian influenza viruses isolated from wild birds in Mongolia, 2009-2013 and 2016-2018 BARKHASBAATAR, A., GILBERT, M., FINE, A. E., SHIILEGDAMBA, E., DAMDINJAV, B., BUUVEIBAATAR, B., KHISHGEE, B., JOHNSON, C. K., LEUNG, C. Y. and ANKHANBAATAR, U. Abstract: Since 2005, highly pathogenic avian influenza A H5N1 viruses have spread from Asia worldwide, infecting poultry, humans and wild birds. Subsequently, global interest in avian influenza (AI) surveillance increased. Mongolia presents an opportunity to study viruses in wild birds because the country has very low densities of domestic poultry and supports large concentrations of migratory water birds. We conducted AI surveillance in Mongolia over two time periods, 2009–2013 and 2016–2018, utilizing environmental fecal sampling. Fresh fecal samples were collected from water bird congregation sites. Hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA) subtypes of positive samples were identified through viral isolation or molecular assays, with pathogenicity determined by HA subtype or sequencing the HA cleavage site. A total of 10,222 samples were collected. Of these, 7,025 fecal samples were collected from 2009 to 2013, and 3,197 fecal samples were collected from 2016 to 2018. Testing revealed 175 (1.7%) positive samples for low-pathogenicity influenza A, including 118 samples from 2009 to 2013 (1.7%) and 57 samples from 2016 to 2018 (1.8%). HA and NA subtyping of all positives identified 11 subtypes of HA and nine subtypes of NA in 29 different combinations. Within periods, viruses were detected more frequently during the fall season than in the early summer. Mongolia's critical wild bird habitat is positioned as a crossroad of multiple migratory flyways. Our work demonstrates the feasibility of using an affordable environmental fecal sampling approach for AI surveillance and contributes to understanding the prevalence and ecology of low-pathogenicity avian influenza viruses in this important location, where birds from multiple flyways mix. Characterization of avian influenza A (H4N2) viruses isolated from wild birds in Shanghai during 2019 to 2021 XU, Y., TANG, L., GU, X., BO, S., MING, L., MA, M., ZHAO, C., SUN, K., LIU, Y. and HE, G Abstract: The H4 subtype of avian influenza viruses has been widely distributed among wild birds. During the surveillance of the avian influenza virus in Shanghai from 2019 to 2021, a total of 4,451 samples were collected from wild birds, among which 46 H4 subtypes of avian influenza viruses were identified, accounting for 7.40% of the total positive samples. The H4 subtype viruses have a wide range of hosts, including the spot-billed duck, common teal, and other wild birds in Anseriformes. Among all H4 subtypes, the most abundant are the H4N2 viruses. To clarify the genetic characteristics of H4N2 viruses, the whole genome sequences of 20 H4N2 viruses were analyzed. Phylogenetical analysis showed that all 8 genes of these viruses belonged to the Eurasian lineage and closely clustered with low pathogenic avian influenza viruses from countries along the East Asia-Australia migratory route. However, the PB1 gene of 1 H4N2 virus (NH21920) might provide its internal gene for highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N8 viruses in Korea and Japan. At least 10 genotypes were identified in these viruses, indicating that they underwent multiple complex recombination events. Our study has provided a better epidemiological understanding of the H4N2 viruses in wild birds. Considering the mutational potential, comprehensive surveillance of the H4N2 virus in both poultry and wild birds is imperative. Mapping emerging trends and South-South cooperation in regional knowledge networks: A bibliometric analysis of avian influenza research in Southeast Asia M Liverani, K Song, JW Rudge. Abstract: This paper maps emerging trends and South-South cooperation in regional knowledge networks through a bibliometric analysis of avian influenza research in Southeast Asia, between 2004 and 2019. The findings indicate that a substantial research output involving researchers and organisations in the region was generated. However, wide disparities between countries existed, both in terms of output and participation in the regional network, which was largely driven by non-regional actors. A more proactive involvement of institutions for regional cooperation such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) would increase local ownership, sustainability and redress imbalances in the regional research system.


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  • EAAFP’s Positive Experience at IUCN Leaders Forum 2023

    © Kyle Esperanza Zuleta In a vibrant display of global collaboration, the EAAFP Secretariat was an active participant in the IUCN Leaders Forum 2023 hosted in Geneva, Switzerland on October 13. This Forum, which followed the success of the 2022 edition in Jeju Island, showcased the interconnectedness of climate and nature crises and the potential for transformative change. The EAAFP team, led by Ms. Jennifer George (CE) and Ms. Kyle Esperanza Zuleta (PO), actively engaged in discussions on KMGBF implementation and the importance of measurable targets. Noteworthy discussions focused on the urgency of updating legal frameworks, establishing measurable targets, and embracing transformative changes in consumption patterns and economies. Here, the financing of nature took center stage, underscoring collective efforts to bridge funding gaps in biodiversity initiatives. Speakers emphasized the economic viability of environmental protection, the need to simplify business practices, and the positive impact of inclusive and transparent approaches. © Kyle Esperanza Zuleta Inclusivity emerged as a guiding principle. A significant highlight was the emphasis on the pivotal roles of indigenous peoples, women, and youth in conservation efforts. The Forum championed the idea of compassionate-focused conservation, advocating for leadership roles and collaborative actions among these groups. The recommendations stemming from the Forum also align with EAAFP's commitment to global biodiversity goals. Its call for mindful integration of indigenous peoples and youth reflects a shared vision for inclusive conservation practices. Overall, the encouragement to explore partnerships and stay informed on sustainable financing mechanisms positions EAAFP strategically in the evolving landscape of conservation initiatives. © Kyle Esperanza Zuleta There was also a parallel meeting with the Secretariat of the Convention of Wetlands, which revealed collaborative opportunities, particularly in streamlining FNS and Ramsar site designations. The emphasis on exploring notification systems, securing funding for integration, and collaborating with regional organizations signifies a collective commitment to effective conservation. As the EAAFP looks ahead, the optimism gleaned from these engagements is palpable. The strategic alignment with global biodiversity goals, exploration of partnerships, and staying informed on emerging trends provide a solid foundation for the EAAFP's continued contributions to biodiversity and climate commitments. At the end of the day, the collaborative spirit witnessed at the Forum serves as a catalyst for EAAFP's ongoing efforts, reinforcing the importance of collective action in navigating the complex terrain of global conservation.


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  • Funding Boost for Flyway Activities: Australian Government’s Support and Priorities

    ©Eugene Cheah The Australian Government has extended its support for several key activities of CMS-EAAFP. Four…


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