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Bird Conservation: Global Evidence for the Effects of Interventions

Bird Conservation: Global Evidence for the Effects of Interventions

Paperback Synopses of Conservation Evidence

By (author) David R. Williams, By (author) Robert G. Pople, By (author) David A. Showler, By (author) Lynn V. Dicks, By (author) Matthew F. Child, By (author) Erasmus K.H.J. Zu Ermgassen, By (author) William J. Sutherland

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Hardback $96.89
  • Publisher: Pelagic Publishing
  • Format: Paperback | 575 pages
  • Dimensions: 156mm x 232mm x 36mm | 840g
  • Publication date: 1 March 2013
  • Publication City/Country: Exeter
  • ISBN 10: 1907807195
  • ISBN 13: 9781907807190
  • Illustrations note: black & white illustrations
  • Sales rank: 880,934

Product description

This book brings together scientific evidence and experience relevant to the practical conservation of wild birds. The authors worked with an international group of bird experts and conservationists to develop a global list of interventions that could benefit wild birds. For each intervention, the book summarises studies captured by the Conservation Evidence project, where that intervention has been tested and its effects on birds quantified. The result is a thorough guide to what is known, or not known, about the effectiveness of bird conservation actions throughout the world. The preparation of this synopsis was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council and Arcadia.

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Review quote

This is not a bedtime read to understand practical bird conservation, but a very detailed synopsis of what works in practical interventions in bird management. It is the second major output from the Conservation Evidence project which undertakes synopses of published evidence of conservation to analyse what works. It is a very important and useful reference to anybody involved with practical conservation projects for birds. While it is not an easy read, it is a very dense reference book containing details of thousands of projects and showing what interventions have been shown to work around the world. The volume starts with an introduction to the book, a description of how the evidence was compiled and how to use the book. There then follows the evidence reviews broken down into topics. Each section starts with a useful 'key messages' section, followed by reviews of individual evidence in sub-topics. There are sections of threats - such as agriculture, resource use, invasive aliens and pollution as well as positive interventions such as habitat protection, habitat creation and re-introductions. Each section gives a brief review of the number of studies used in the synopsis and then outlines the results of each published piece of evidence These review either individual papers where only one exists, or goes through a series of papers on one topic, pulling out key information. All sections are fully referenced allowing readers to go to the source research projects. The review covers an incredibly wide range of possible interventions for conservation in over 500 pages. These ranges from topics such as setting longlines at night in order to reduce bycatch, reducing predation by moving nestboxes to habitat creation and re-introductions. Each topic gives a precis of published papers, some background to the problem followed by a detailed review of papers. For example, if I wanted to consider reducing predation of curlew nests - a species I am currently working on - I might consider use of electric fences. The section on this topic informs me that one study in the UK and two in the US showed this intervention was successful for tern colonies, 5 studies in the US showed higher survival at wader and seabird colonies although one study was less positive. The section then gives me details of the studies, along with the original references. For too long we have been doing not much more that gardening on our nature reserves, and too much conservation has been because that "is what we have always done". We have spent lots on useless projects based on hearsay. This, as the latest synopsis, is an extremely important publication. Hopefully we can start to direct conservation effort based on the evidence of what actually works, and continue to build up detailed evidence by monitoring and publishing results of new techniques. Every conservation manager should have a copy of this, and its associated volumes. As they are available as a free download there is no excuse. Also available on the website is an open access journal of recent findings and an ever-expanding database of evidence. All conservation managers should contribute to this. Too much past conservation has been a nice fluffy exercise which has regularly failed to deliver. Given the current crisis in wildlife declines we need to sharpen our game and for this we need to use the best available evidence. This volume and it associated publications will help us to do this. -- Mick Green ECOS Too much past conservation has been a nice fluffy exercise which has regularly failed to deliver. Given the current crisis in wildlife declines we need to sharpen our game and for this we need to use the best available evidence. This volume and it associated publications will help us to do this. -- Mick Green ECOS This new book aims to provide easy access to key scientific evidence to inform decisions on how to conserve birds. it does this by collecting, summarising and synthesising the scientific evidence (more than 1,200 individual studies) for 322 realistic interventions to conserve wild birds. Bird practitioners around the world are constantly deciding how to save birds from a range of different threats. However, given the widespread nature of the global conservation community, with its diverse information sources, and their different levels of accessibility, it can be difficult to use the most appropriate evidence to inform conservation actions. In fact, research has shown that conservation practitioners often cannot access scientific literature and so rarely use the published science. The book is one of a series of synopses on different taxonomic groups and conservation issues, and has been prepared by the Conservation Evidence Project at the University of Cambridge. Other titles already available include Bee Conservation and European Farmland Conservation, and synopses on Bats, Carnivores and Amphibians are in preparation, with more to follow. Bird Conservation comprises 16 chapters, each organised around interventions to deal with different aspects of a general threat, such as agriculture, biological resource use or pollution. Each chapter briefly introduces each threat and highlights key messages that provide a general summary of the evidence. It then focuses on all realistic interventions that can be taken in response to these threats. For each, a background on the rationale of the intervention is provided, followed by a short summary of the evidence for its effectiveness. Later, short and concise summaries of individual studies that tested the intervention are provided, with information on the study design (replicated, controlled, paired), sample sizes, study site and time, and the overall findings. Thus, the information can be read at different levels ofdetail and should be very useful to inform decisions by conservation practitioners. The information should also help conservationists to assess the strength of the evidence and its relevance for their particular case. In a recent global survey carried out by the University of Cambridge and BirdLife International many practitioners stated that the newly published book would be useful for their conservation activities and they were very likely to use it to inform conservation decisions. The comprehensive nature of the book also allows readers to evaluate where the evidence is weak. Thus, practitioners may want to test and report actions for which there is currently little or no evidence. In this way, conservationists will not only use but also contribute to the scientific evidence, thereby improving the ability of others to conserve birds elsewhere. The book is available for purchase through Pelagic Publishing ( conservation), and also for download as a free PDF and as a searchable, ever-growing database at www.conservationevidencecom. its wide availability should help bird conservationists to take appropriate conservation decisions and in turn help improve conservation outcomes. -- Alfredo Romero-Munoz World Birdwatch Bird Conservation is the second volume in a series that is part of an ongoing effort to make biodiversity conservation more evidence-based. The opening pages outline the Conservation Evidence project, who the series might appeal to, and how it links to other similar initiatives, such as the Centre for Evidence-Based Conservation at the University of Bangor. The overall approach of taking what is increasingly complex scientific research (especially the wealth of sophisticated data-analysis techniques) and trying to distil this down to the key issues for the end-user is admirable. Too often, excellent research has not been applied by the conservation practitioner because the outputs are not readily available in an accessible format. This book brings together scientific evidence and experience relevant to the practical conservation of wild birds and lists 322 interventions that could be of benefit. In addition, the reader is pointed to further information that is available on-line through the Conservation Evidence project. The wealth of information that is contained in this book is summarized in a very user-friendly way, with a standard structure throughout each chapter. Conservation interventions are grouped by threats according to the standard definition used by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Inevitably, there are overlaps where interventions could occur in several parts of the book, but the authors take a pragmatic approach in assigning the most suitable place and providing clear cross-referencing. Each chapter has a succinct summary and background, with an excellent overview of the key messages the reader should note. Jargon is avoided, as is the data analysis behind the results that are summarized, and this makes the accounts very readable by the average conservation practitioner and land manager. Perhaps inevitably, the book is dominated by a few key threats, notably agriculture (Chapter 5), stretching to 100 pages, and invasive alien and other problematic species (Chapter 12; 74 pages). Others are more limited in scope, for example the threats of energy production and climate change are covered in a total of just over two pages (although interventions are cross-referenced elsewhere). The breadth of interventions within the book is staggering. Where else would you bring together the use of snakeskin to deter mammalian nest predators and the use of lime to reduce acidification in lakes? The authors make no attempt to assess the evidence quantitatively but they do provide readers with sufficient information to make their own judgements that will be applicable to their own situation. The only criticism of the book is that it comes to a rather abrupt end. There could have been some merit in a summary of what the authors think are the key overarching messages from all the interventions listed; or indeed, an assessment of what the key gaps are in our knowledge of bird conservation interventions, and how these could be addressed in the future. Had such a summary been written by the ultimate end-user of this book, it might have further contributed to bringing scientists and conservation practitioners together. For future Synopses of Conservation Evidence it may be worth considering adding a few practitioners to the Advisory Board. Overall, this is an outstanding book (and an excellent concept) that will make a significant contribution to evidence-based bird conservation, and I hope there will be many future editions allowing conservation practitioners to be right up to date with current scientific research. -- Robert Sheldon IBIS Overall, this is an outstanding book (and an excellent concept) that will make a significant contribution to evidence-based bird conservation, and I hope there will be many future editions allowing conservation practitioners to be right up to date with current scientific research. -- Robert Sheldon IBIS This large volume reviews the literature for quantifiable, statistically significant and biologically meaningful effects of 322 human interventions on bird conservation. Therefore, what you have thought of most likely have been tried somewhere else before. This is the second volume in the Synopses of Conservation Evidence Series examining the effectiveness of conservation approaches for a variety of taxa across the globe. The authors worked with an extensive international group of bird experts to compile this very large list of human interventions. The authors literally scanned thousands articles in the literature up to and including 2010 from mostly ornithological, conservation and wildlife management journals written in English. However, this volume does not mention every published English language bird conservation article. For example, I am aware that there are many more Burrowing Owl conservation articles than were cited in this book. I also noticed that voluntary habitat stewardship approaches were missing from the volume. However, I am pleased that the authors have developed a website (www.conservation where information can be easily updated and shared. Readers should read the About this Book chapter carefully as it explains the content and organization of the book, as well as how to get the most out of this book. The book is divided into 15 chapters: habitat protection; education and raising awareness; residential and commercial development; agriculture; energy production and mining; transportation and service corridors; biological resource use; human intrusions and disturbance; natural system modification; habitat restoration and creation; invasive alien and other problematic species; pollution; climate change and geologic events; general responses to small or declining populations; and captive breeding/rearing and releases. This wide-ranging set of topics should easily meet most readers' needs. Chapters are further subdivided from two to 49 sections. The larger subsections are further subdivided by bird families. The only serious flaw in this book is that it is so densely packed with information that it is difficult to follow. Clearly, it is aimed at professional conservationists, land managers and ornithologists familiar with the scientific literature. However, there are brief background information and "key messages" highlighting the most important points to remember from the reviewed literature at the beginning of each chapter and major chapter sections. At the end of each section there is a literature cited section ordered by the same citation number in the text. Standardized full citations are used so it should be easy for readers to track down articles of interest. Although this book has some limitations, I do recommend it to anyone working in the field of bird conservation. -- Rob Warnock Picoides