Climate: Will birds be saved by International Conventions?

A study conducted by the Center for Ecology and Conservation Sciences of the National Museum of Natural History in Paris with the participation of the Tour du Valat, published in the journal Biological Conservation , shows that international conventions can contribute favorably to the adaptation to climate change of bird populations in the Mediterranean basin.

will the upheaval of migration caused by climate change endanger the survival of hundreds of species that will have to share the resources of their habitats with newcomers? While it is tempting to draw parallels with the flow of human populations that migrate for various reasons, between the migration of birds and that of humans, the situation is not yet comparable: “The warming (climate change) has the consequence to push the species back to the poles, “says Elie Gaget researcher at the Research Institute for the Conservation of Mediterranean Wetlands of Tour du Valat. “The animals are looking for a little cooler territory.”

The Arctic and Antarctic populations therefore face a double problem. Not only must they adapt to higher temperatures without the possibility of migrating to colder regions, but they must also share their resources with new populations.

A study conducted by the Center for Ecology and Conservation Sciences of the National Museum of Natural History in Paris with the participation of the Tour du Valat, published in the journal Biological Conservation , shows that international conventions can still contribute favorably to Adaptation to climate change of bird populations in the Mediterranean basin.

“We have studied the behavior of 145 species in 22 Mediterranean countries,” explains Élie Gaget, who is also the first author of the publication. The results show that bird communities adjust more easily to rising temperatures in the countries where the Bern Convention is ratified, and all the better if the Birds Directive is also strictly applied. This is for example the case for species such as the Black-winged Stilt, the green sandpiper, or the Common Sandpiper. These results encourage further implementation of these international agreements for the protection of species and their habitats.

“Two European conventions aim at the conservation of biodiversity: the Bern Convention and the European Birds Directive. The objective is to allow the installation of bird population in new territories spared by human activities. It is mainly these activities that endanger birds, especially hunting.

“The purpose of our work is to show that the dice are not thrown yet. With restrictive legislation, birds can be allowed to adapt. The example is flagrant with the heron who has long been persecuted in France. Now thanks to the strict application of the Birds Directive, its population is increasing, “says Elie Gaget in an article in Le Figaro before concluding:” Legislation, as strict as it may be, must not exempt us from a change in our behavior! “.

It should be noted that Morocco is one of the countries – not members of the European Union – which have ratified the Berne Convention.

Échasses blanches (© O.A)

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