SLU news

New European project on bird conservation

Published: 22 May 2023
Bird swimming with many chicks.

A new EU project launched last week will evaluate changes in bird abundance and distributions in Europe and develop new tools to meet global biodiversity targets for 2030.

The new project SPEAR  will identify gaps in the current European land and marine protected area networks for the conservation for threatened species and critical habitats and assess the resilience of the protected area networks under different future scenarios for environmental change.

SPEAR will develop best practice guidelines to inform managers of protected areas about improving implementation of conservation actions to mitigate adverse impacts of climate change on birds.

SPEAR will also focus on huntable waterbird species, and the regulations needed to ensure sustainable harvest under climate change.

Lastly, SPEAR will evaluate the benefits of created and restored wetlands for biodiversity, including their recreational value, the scientific results from which will guide development of best practice guidelines for future wetland restoration projects.

The SLU researchers will focus on wetlands

At the Department of Ecology, SLU, Professor Tomas Pärt and Post-Doc Ineta Kačergytė, together with SPEAR collaborators, will focus on local wetland management and its conservation benefits for birds, but also other parts of wetland biodiversity and ecosystem functionality.

First, they will look at time effects since the restoration of shallow eutrophic lakes, which may indicate which restoration measures work for more years than others, and if and when repeated restoration measures are needed to maintain higher biodiversity estimates.

Secondly, they will investigate the effectiveness of wetland creation for biodiversity not only for the target taxa such as birds and amphibians, but also for other taxa including insects, other invertebrates, fish and plants. They will also identify other functions that created wetlands can provide, in order to achieve cost-effective synergies between biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Follow the project 

Web site, SPEAR

twitter @SPEAR_biodiv


Facts about SPEAR

The kick-off meeting for a new international European bird conservation project was hosted May 10-11 by the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA) in Trondheim, Norway. The two goals of the collaborative project SPEAR (“Scenarios for Protecting European Avian Redistributions”) are to evaluate changes in bird abundance and distributions in Europe, and to develop improved policy tools to meet new targets set under the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030 and the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework under the United Nations’ Convention on Biological Diversity. SPEAR is a 1.6M Euro project funded by the BiodivProtect call from EU Biodiversa+.

The SPEAR team comprises an international consortium of scientists from eight research institutions in Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, United Kingdom, Switzerland, and Spain and six conservation groups, including the secretariats of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), and the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) both affiliated to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Wetlands International, Stichting BirdLife Europe, the Danish Hunters’ Association, and the European Land Conservation Network (Eurosite). Representatives participated in the kick-off meeting to determine priorities and plan research activities for the 3-year project (2023-2025). Collaboration between scientists, conservation partners and stakeholders will ensure a strong knowledge base that will inform the policy processes much needed for effective biodiversity conservation in Europe.