UN launches new bird migration atlas
Visualizing how migratory animals connect continents, countries, sites and habitats is the result of an international scientific effort under the auspices of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), developing the first atlas of bird migration on three continents.
CMS, a United Nations environmental treaty, has launched the Eurasian and African Bird Migration Atlas at the Migration Museum on the Italian island of Ventotene, as part of a wider initiative to develop an atlas global animal migration.
The Interactive Atlas is an online platform where data on the temporal and spatial movements of millions of birds are mapped and analyzed in the Eurasian-African Flyway. Researchers from 10 different institutions and data collected by more than 50 different organizations contributed to the Atlas, which was developed by CMS partners the European Union for Bird Ringing (EURING) and the Institute Max Planck of animal behavior.
One of the main achievements of the Atlas of Bird Migrations of Eurasia and Africa is to have collected, analyzed and synthesized bird banding data collected over more than 100 years on 300 species.
In addition, for more than 100 of these species, the online mapping tool superimposes movement patterns identified by bird banding on tracks obtained by satellite transmitters, GPS-GSM beacons or geolocators. Together they provide the most comprehensive information available on the migration routes of these species.
An important visualization tool
For CMS, whose main objective is to conserve migratory species throughout their migratory range and migration itself as a biological phenomenon, a detailed understanding of the different migratory systems and patterns across the different groups of migratory species is important for designing and implementing conservation strategies and actions. .
The new Atlas offers new insights into migration patterns at species and population levels and the human-related issues affecting them along their migratory routes.
CMS Executive Secretary Amy Fraenkel said: “Knowledge of how animals move and migrate through time and space is crucial to improving our understanding and conservation efforts of migratory species. The Atlas will help decision-makers plan networks of sites managed for conservation purposes.
The information compiled in the Atlas is expected to make an important contribution to CMS initiatives on maintaining ecological connectivity – the unimpeded movement of species and the flow of natural processes that support life on Earth – and land use planning. especially. These relate for example to the possible interactions between renewable energy infrastructure and animal migration, with particular emphasis on the risk of collision of migrating birds in wind farms. Maps of seasonal movements across geographic areas can help define strategies to minimize the risk of bird mortality caused by these infrastructures.
The other main feature of the Atlas is four research modules that provide analyzes looking at different aspects of bird migration and human-bird relationships – two modules, migratory connectivity and long-term change in migration patterns due, for example, to global climate change. take a closer look at the migration patterns, strategies and adaptations of birds.
Another research module provides EU-wide estimates of the onset of return migration for many huntable species covered by the Birds Directive. The start of the return migration is crucially important information for determining the start of the protection period in the year.
The fourth module focuses on a large-scale, long-term analysis of intentional bird killing patterns. It describes the frequency and distribution of intentional killing across the Eurasian-African flyways and identifies areas of particularly intense legal or illegal harvest, both in Europe and in Africa. These results are of direct relevance to the ongoing activities of CMS and the Bern Convention regarding the illegal killing of birds. In addition, this module offers information on expanding the geographic scope of monitoring illegal bird killing, for example, along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway.
Finally, the expanded historical and geographic perspective can support similar efforts to combat the trapping and killing of animals from other taxonomic groups. The project was made possible thanks to the support of the Italian government, with a pledge to CMS granted in 2017 by the Ministry of Ecological Transition (formerly Ministry of Environment, Land and Sea) as part of of the Champion of Migratory Species program.
UN launches new bird migration atlas
During the launch of the Atlas, the CMS Secretariat signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to raise awareness of the conservation of migratory species and the concept of “ecological connectivity” within the framework of the restoration and requalification project. of the former Bourbon prison of Santo Stefano-Ventotene.
The MoU is concluded with various Italian partners, namely the Italian Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA) which maintains a major ringing station on Ventotene, the State Nature Reserve and Marine Protected Area of Ventotene, the Municipality of Ventotene and the Special Commissioner for the Project of the Islands of Santo Stefano – Ventotene.
These islands are at the crossroads of important animal migrations and represent a “safe port” and a key node of a vast network of sites and habitats within the framework of the annual movements of species.