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Political instability main factor in waterbird conservation

Cara J

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Even more than climate change, human population growth or their own species characteristics, waterbird species across the globe seem to be declining mostly from political instability and weak governance, according to new research. In a study published in Nature, a research team compiled data on wetland habitats covering about 1.3 billion hectares around the world from the Wetlands International database and the National Audubon Society’s annual Christmas Bird Count. “The biggest reason for us to focus on waterbirds was the special coverage of this data,” said lead author Tatsuya Amano, a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Cambridge’s Department of Zoology and Centre for the Study of Existential Risk. “We had the advantage of so many sites in these datasets, including many areas like Africa and western and central Asia where normally there’s very little information about biodiversity change.” These waterbirds cover a wide range of species, from ducks and geese to flamingoes and pelicans. After compiling the data, Amano and his colleagues looked at a few predictors of biodiversity and species loss in the areas, including anthropogenic impacts such as agricultural expansion, climate change and human population growth; species characteristics such as body size and migratory status; and [...]


Read more: http://wildlife.org/political-instability-main-factor-in-waterbird-conservation/

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