VAN DEN BERGH M, DE BRUIJN B & DIETZ T (2019) The future of the Sahel as a wintering area for European migratory birds. LIMOSA 92 (3): 201-207.
Many European migratory bird populations show a (strong)
negative trend. The causes are diverse and can be found
scattered throughout their breeding grounds, along their
migratory routes and in their - mostly African - wintering
areas. In the latter category, landscape changes in the Sahel
are a serious threat to many migratory bird populations. These
landscape changes are both a consequence of, and a risk to,
the people that depend to a large extent on the landscape
for their livelihood in this region. This dependence shared
by migratory birds and people also creates opportunities
for solutions; sustainable land use leads to the conservation
of natural resources and to the restoration of biodiversity.
This appears to be an important strategy for the protection
of migratory landbirds, as these species are widespread in
the largely cultivated Sahel landscape. So, in addition to
ecological insight, socio-geographical knowledge is also
essential for this type of conservation work. In this article we
strive to bring these fields of expertise closer together.
‘Knowing what our migratory birds do when they are not in
the Netherlands’ is usually the strongest drive for researching
migratory routes and wintering areas of migratory birds
among European researchers. In recent years an enormous
amount of knowledge and insight has been generated
in that area; insights that are necessary for shaping and
prioritizing protection: where and when do which limiting
factors occur? But just as important is the insight into the
wider context of those limiting factors, for which socioeconomic knowledge is essential. After all, conservation
starts with understanding.
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