A vision for bird conservation for the next century
Answering the challenge of bird conservation
People’s lives and livelihoods are enriched by birds and the outcomes of bird conservation every day, from sharing the benefits of clean water and healthy lands, to deriving economic benefits from ecotourism and hunting, to appreciating the spiritual and cultural value of birds. Birds also connect our countries; many migratory species travel each year from one end of the Americas to the other.
A century ago, North American bird populations had declined dramatically in the absence of regulations and other efforts to protect them. Recognizing the importance of this shared resource, Canada, the United States of America, and Mexico came together to protect migratory bird populations. Through cooperative efforts, our countries managed and regulated hunting and protected natural habitats, and many bird populations recovered.
Today, birds and their habitats have many new challenges. The State of North America’s Birds 2016 report tells us that nearly one third of all North American bird species—including common backyard birds such as sparrows, warblers, and hummingbirds—are in urgent need of conservation action. They face many threats including loss of habitat, mortality due to human activity, and climate change.
To help guide our conservation efforts, our three nations, through the North American Bird Conservation Initiative, have come together to build a vision for sustaining bird populations for the future.
Our vision for the next 100 years of bird conservation
Our vision for the next century is that bird populations and ecosystems are healthy throughout the Western Hemisphere, because:
- clean air, clean water, and sustainable food and habitats meet the needs of birds and people
- people recognize the value of healthy natural environments
- all parts of society are committed to conservation, with governments, non-government organizations, the private sector, and citizens working together
Achieving our vision
We must take bold action throughout the Western Hemisphere to achieve this Vision.
- develop shared goals of conservation and human well-being that consider the needs of both people and birds throughout their lives
- bring together experts from diverse fields to identify sustainable strategies for creating healthy environments for birds and people
- cooperate across sectors to bring biodiversity into mainstream society by developing public policies and implementing practices that sustain livelihoods and improve economic conditions for landowners and communities while benefiting birds
- engage people and communities in conservation and monitoring through citizen science, stewardship, education, and capacity building
- use innovative science and traditional knowledge to develop adaptable action plans that consider long-term drivers of change such as climate and human population growth
- focus conservation efforts on protecting, managing, and connecting our most vulnerable habitats—including oceans, tropical forests, wetlands, and grasslands—while building the foundation for conservation in all habitats
- maximize return on investments by integrating conservation considerations into societal aspects such as employment, human health, education, and the economy
Most importantly, we will do it together, because collaborative conservation works: where partners have come together, birds and their habitats are thriving. A century ago, we signed the first agreement to conserve migratory birds and joined forces to protect our shared resources. In the 21st century, we will continue to coordinate action through a hemispheric network of diverse partners and learn from each other’s successes, challenges, and priorities.
Bird conservation goes hand in hand with healthy environments that benefit human health and communities; everyone wins with bird conservation. Together, across the hemisphere, we will unite to implement a shared vision of bird conservation for the greater good.
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