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Using wader distribution data to better target funding and conservation action

Using wader distribution data to better target funding and conservation action

Wading birds are an important part of Scotland’s natural and cultural heritage but, like many species of birds, waders are in decline. Since 1994 curlews have declined by 60%, and lapwings numbers have halved over the same time period. The causes of wader declines likely include habitat loss, alteration and homogenisation (associated strongly with agricultural intensification), and predation by generalist predators.

In face of these declines there has been a concerted effort to reverse wader declines through habitat management, wader sensitive farming practices and predator control, all of which are likely to benefit waders at the local scale. However, the extent and severity of wader population declines means that large scale, landscape level, collaborative actions are needed if these trends are to be halted or reversed across much of these species’ current (and former) ranges. Moreover, to be effective, such effort needs to be targeted at areas where it is likely to be of greatest benefit. Relevant factors to take into account in determining these areas include current and potential levels of collaboration between the owners, managers and interest groups operating within them, as well as the size and trends of breeding wader populations. Collaborative conservation efforts and resources should therefore be focused on areas where wader populations have the best capacity to recover.

To enable informed decision-making and to allow stakeholders to identify and focus resources on priority areas we use the Breeding Bird Atlas data to map;

Contact: Scott Newey

Project Information
Project Type: 
Active Project
SEFARI – Scottish Environment, Food and Agriculture Research InstitutesSEFARI is the collective of six Scottish world-leading Research Institutes working across the spectrum of environment, land, food, agriculture and communities – all topics which affect how we live our lives, in Scotland and beyond.


Areas of Interest

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The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.