International Cooperation to Conserve Migratory Waterbirds

By Spike Millington, Chief Executive of EAAFP

One of the principal rationales behind the creation of EAAFP is the need for international cooperation to conserve migratory waterbirds and the habitats they depend on throughout the migratory cycle. No matter how well-protected populations are in certain parts of their range, if these birds face migratory bottlenecks in other parts, such as critical stopover sites, they will still face extinction risks. The Yellow Sea is such a bottleneck, where a few critical sites support a significant proportion of shorebird species (e.g. up to 60% of the Flyway population of Red Knots stage at the Luannan mudflats in Bohai bay).

This study brings welcome attention to the need to better protect migratory waterbirds throughout their range, e.g. through creation and improved management of protected areas or managing key sites for waterbird and habitat conservation. This is the idea behind the EAAFP Flyway Site Network. International cooperation can provide new opportunities for innovative cooperative management and capacity building, such as sister site programs, or even, potentially, for “international nature reserves” using resources and expertise from countries sharing the range of key species.

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