"The Natura 2000 network does not safeguard the wintering waterbirds"

The European Unions' Natura 2000 network represents the basis of conservation for safeguarding habitats and populations of species. The study of FES team (Zuzana Musilová et al.) indicates three cornerstones for an effective protection of waterbird species, by focusing on wintering waterbird numbers: the high relevance of protected area preference; and the evaluation of carrying capacity as well as facilitation of species' distributional changes. Focused on highly mobile group of species (i.e. waterbirds) and model study area, the study concluded that the low preference for Natura 2000, the distribution changes shifting species outside Natura 2000, and limits to the carrying capacity of the protected network sites, could all make an issue in effectively safeguarding the non-breeding populations of waterbirds. Especially, inverterbrate-eaters and decreasing species prefer sites outside the protected network. The extension of the Natura 2000 network to facilitate their wintering requirements and distribution changes is therefore a high priority.

The article is an output of the FES' project Monitoring of the status of species listed in the EU Nature Directives in Natura 2000 sites.


Musilová Z., Musil P., Zouhar J., Adam M. & Bejček V. 2018. Importance of Natura 2000 sites for wintering waterbirds: low preference, species´ distribution changes and carrying capacity of Natura 2000 could fail to protect the species. Biological Conservation 228: 79-88. DOI:J.biocon.2018.10.00


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