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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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limosa 92.3 2019
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