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‘We have a problem’: UN report on migratory species signals need for strategic action

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Jeff Tyson

The United Nations released a first-ever report on the state of migratory species, and the findings are bleak: almost half of listed species are showing population declines and more than one-in-five are threatened with extinction.

Amanda Rodewald

Professor; Senior Director of Conservation Science, Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Amanda Rodewald, professor and senior director of the Center for Avian Population Studies at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, says the report underscores the need for global cooperation. Rodewald also points to new technologies like remote sensing as bright spots in conservation efforts.

Rodewald says:

“The conservation of migratory species is notoriously challenging because they use habitats and require resources that often span continents and hemispheres – adding to that complexity is the fact that they're crossing geopolitical boundaries.

“This report is one in a series that signals to us that we have a problem and that we require more strategic and coordinated efforts. 

“Most migratory species depend upon lands that fall outside of protected areas and often in working landscapes that are managed for human needs, like agriculture and forestry. That dependence means that we must find solutions that work for people and nature.

“Because migratory species can spend part of the year in remote regions of the world where we lack data, it's difficult to identify the most critical areas to protect or to know the threats they face or how their populations are changing. Fortunately, we have more tools and technologies than ever before to monitor populations and to identify the most important places at the most important times. Participatory science projects like eBird, along with advances in tracking technology and remote sensing can be transformational in our efforts to fill information gaps and be more strategic in conservation efforts.”

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