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Wild Bird Index (forest & farmland specialist birds)

Key indicator facts

Indicator type

State

Applicable for national use

Yes

Indicator classification

Operational and included in the CBD's list of indicators

Indicator type

State

Applicable for national use

Yes

Indicator classification

Operational and included in the CBD's list of indicators

Last update

2016

Coverage

Global

Availability

Freely available

Partners

Ebcc

European Bird Census Council

Birdlife aug2013

BirdLife International

Rspb logo aug2013

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds

Contact point

Indicator description

The Wild Bird Index (WBI) is the average trend in relative abundance of a group of bird species during the breeding season, often grouped by their association and dependence on a particular habitat. It is particularly suited to tracking trends in the condition of habitats through obligate or specialist species.

Birds are recognised as good indicators of environmental change and as useful proxies of wider changes in nature. The Wild Bird Index measures average population trends of a suite of representative wild birds as an indicator of the general health of the environment.

Related Aichi Targets

Primary target

7

Target 7:

By 2020 areas under agriculture, aquaculture and forestry are managed sustainably, ensuring conservation of biodiversity.

Secondary targets

Target 5:

By 2020, the rate of loss of all natural habitats, including forests, is at least halved and where feasible brought close to zero, and degradation and fragmentation is significantly reduced.

Target 12:

By 2020 the extinction of known threatened species has been prevented and their conservation status, particularly of those most in decline, has been improved and sustained.

Primary target

7

Target 7:

By 2020 areas under agriculture, aquaculture and forestry are managed sustainably, ensuring conservation of biodiversity.

5
12
7

Related SDGs

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GOAL 2 - End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.

Target 2.4| Relevant indicator

By 2030, ensure sustainable food production systems and implement resilient agricultural practices that increase productivity and production, that help maintain ecosystems, that strengthen capacity for adaptation to climate change, extreme weather, drought, flooding and other disasters and that progressively improve land and soil quality.

E sdg goals icons individual rgb 12

GOAL 12 - Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

Target 12.2| Relevant indicator

By 2030, achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources.

Target 12.8| Relevant indicator

By 2030, ensure that people everywhere have the relevant information and awareness for sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature.

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GOAL 15 - Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.

Target 15.1| Relevant indicator

By 2020, ensure the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services, in particular forests, wetlands, mountains and drylands, in line with obligations under international agreements.

Target 15.2| Relevant indicator

By 2020, promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests and substantially increase afforestation and reforestation globally.

Target 15.5| Relevant indicator

Take urgent and significant action to reduce the degradation of natural habitats, halt the loss of biodiversity and, by 2020, protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species.

Target 15.b| Relevant indicator

Mobilize significant resources from all sources and at all levels to finance sustainable forest management and provide adequate incentives to developing countries to advance such management, including for conservation and reforestation.

E sdg goals icons individual rgb 02

GOAL 2 - End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.

E sdg goals icons individual rgb 12

GOAL 12 - Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

E sdg goals icons individual rgb 15

GOAL 15 - Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.

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E sdg goals icons individual rgb 12
E sdg goals icons individual rgb 15

Other related MEAs and processes

Cites high resolution

CITES

Target 1.4| Relevant indicator

The Appendices correctly reflect the conservation needs of species.

Cms logo blue4c

CMS

Target 5| Relevant indicator

Governments, key sectors and stakeholders at all levels have taken steps to achieve or have implemented plans for sustainable production and consumption, keeping the impacts of natural resource use on migratory species well within safe ecological limits to promote the favourable conservation status of migratory species and maintain the quality, integrity, resilience, and connectivity of their habitats and migratory routes.

Target 7| Relevant indicator

Multiple anthropogenic pressures have been brought to levels that are not detrimental to the conservation of migratory species or to the functioning, integrity, ecological connectivity and resilience of their habitats.

Target 8| Relevant indicator

The conservation status of threatened migratory species has considerably improved throughout their range.

Target 10| Relevant indicator

All key habitats and sites for migratory species are identified and included in area-based conservation measures so as to maintain their quality, integrity, resilience and functioning in accordance with the implementation of Aichi Target 11.

Target 11| Relevant indicator

Migratory species and their habitats which provide important ecosystem services are maintained at or restored to favourable conservation status, taking into account the needs of women, indigenous and local communities , and the poor and vulnerable.

Indicator icon

IPBES Global Assessment Chapters

Chapter 2| Relevant indicator

Status and trends; indirect and direct drivers of change

Chapter 3| Relevant indicator

Progress towards meeting major international objectives related to biodiversity and ecosystem services

Indicator icon

IPBES Regional Assessment Chapters

Chapter 3| Relevant indicator

Status, trends and future dynamics of biodiversity and ecosystems underpinning nature’s benefits to people

Chapter 4| Relevant indicator

Direct and indirect drivers of change in the context of different perspectives of quality of life

Ramsar.logo

Ramsar

Target 3| Relevant indicator

The public and private sectors have increased their efforts to apply guidelines and good practices for the wise use of water and wetlands.

Target 9| Relevant indicator

The wise use of wetlands is strengthened through integrated resource management at the appropriate scale, inter alia, within a river basin or along a coastal zone.

Target 13| Relevant indicator

Enhanced sustainability of key sectors such as water, energy, mining, agriculture, tourism, urban development, infrastructure, industry, forestry, aquaculture and fisheries when they affect wetlands, contributing to biodiversity conservation and human livelihoods

Titel logo letters 4c

UNCCD

Expected impact 3.1| Relevant indicator

Sustainable land management and combating desertification/land degradation contribute to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and the mitigation of climate change.

Cites high resolution

CITES

Cms logo blue4c

CMS

Indicator icon

IPBES Global Assessment Chapters

Indicator icon

IPBES Regional Assessment Chapters

Ramsar.logo

Ramsar

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UNCCD

Cites high resolution
Cms logo blue4c
Titel logo letters 4c
Indicator icon
Indicator icon
Ramsar.logo

Themes

Bip species

Partners

Ebcc
Birdlife aug2013
Rspb logo aug2013

Key indicator facts

Indicator type

State

Applicable for national use

Yes

Indicator classification

Operational and included in the CBD's list of indicators

Indicator type

State

Applicable for national use

Yes

Indicator classification

Operational and included in the CBD's list of indicators

Last update

2016

Coverage

Global

Availability

Freely available

Indicator description

The Wild Bird Index (WBI) is the average trend in relative abundance of a group of bird species during the breeding season, often grouped by their association and dependence on a particular habitat. It is particularly suited to tracking trends in the condition of habitats through obligate or specialist species.

Birds are recognised as good indicators of environmental change and as useful proxies of wider changes in nature. The Wild Bird Index measures average population trends of a suite of representative wild birds as an indicator of the general health of the environment.

Contact point

Graphs / Diagrams

Figure 1. The Wild Bird Index for North American and European birds species.

Current storyline

The global Wild Bird Index project seeks to mobilise relevant information on bird trends globally and to encourage the establishment of breeding bird surveys in countries and regions where none exist. For example, national schemes have been successfully established in several African and Asian countries recently, and provisional Wild Bird Indices have been calculated for Botswana and Uganda. Long-term bird population indices are currently only available for North America (from 1968) and Europe (from 1980), and they are brought together in a Wild Bird Index combining these data. Across Europe and North America in the last fifty years, all bird species covered by generic monitoring schemes have declined by 17%, whereas specialist birds of these particular habitats have declined by around 41% (Figure 1). The largest population declines have occurred in grasslands (49%) and arid lands (43%) in North America (since 1968), and in farmed lands (57%) in Europe (since 1980), whereas widespread specialists of forests show fluctuating or stable trends with signs of recent increase in both North America (17%) since 1968 and Europe (+2% since 1980: Figure 2). The average trends across all species monitored by these count schemes are more positive, reflecting increasing trends among generalist species and in some specific habitats. Although not illustrated, for example, populations of many wetland specialists have increased in both regions, largely it is thought in response to conservation action.


Figure 2. The Wild Bird Index for North American and European habitat specialist bird species and specialist birds combined.

The indices are set to a value of 100 in 1968. The North American time series begin in 1968, and the European time series in 1980.

Source: Pan-European Common Bird Monitoring Scheme (European Bird Census Council/RSPB/BirdLife International/Statistics Netherlands), and North American Breeding Bird Survey (courtesy of John Sauer USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center).

Data and methodology

Coverage: Regional time series.

Scale: Aggregated from national and regional data.

Time series available: 1968/1980 to 2014.

Next update: 2017.

Possible disaggregations: By region, nation, habitat or guild a bird occurs in, and by aspects of species’ ecology.

Methodology: Contributing data are generated at the local level so WBIs are scalable and can be aggregated or disaggregated at the global, regional and national (sub-national) level. WBIs can also be disaggregated by the habitat or guild a bird occurs in, or by aspects of species’ ecology in order to aid interpretation. WBIs are particularly suited to tracking trends in the condition of habitats.

A decrease in the WBI means that the balance of species’ population trends is negative, representing biodiversity loss. If the index is constant, there is no overall change. An increase in the WBI means that the balance of species’ trends is positive, implying that biodiversity loss has halted. However, an increasing WBI may, or may not necessarily equate to an improving situation in the environment. It could, in extreme cases, be the result of expansion of some more generalist species at the cost of others, or reflect habitat degradation. In all cases, detailed analysis must be conducted to interpret and understand the indicator trends. The composite trend can of course hide important trend patterns for individual species, which deserve careful attention, but it is nonetheless a good description of the overall trend in that species group.

WBI indices for Europe are freely available from the European Bird Census Council website:

http://www.ebcc.info/index.php?ID=612; http://www.ebcc.info/index.php?ID=613.

North American indices and data are freely available from the North American Breeding Bird Survey website:

http://www.mbr-pwrc.usgs.gov/bbs/bbs.html; https://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/bbs/RawData/.

National use of indicator

The WBI project aims to promote and encourage the development of WBIs from national population monitoring schemes. Where such schemes already exist, it will coordinate and facilitate the collation of bird species’ data and the generation of indices and indicators. Where there are none, it will provide tools and support to implement similar data collation and synthesis in a representative set of countries across regions, with the funds available to the project. The global WBI, which will be built on national data, is still in development. However, nations and regions have produced their own WBIs already from national bird monitoring schemes (e.g. Europe and North America) and these data will feed in to the global indicator.

Use at the national level:

WBIs are being used at a national level in at least 18 European countries, including in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain (Catalonia), Sweden, Switzerland, and United Kingdom, and are in development in several others. New bird monitoring schemes are being initiated in a number of countries in Europe, with the Africa region piloting this approach and producing their first Wild Bird Indices, but others elsewhere. These will produce data to allow national indicators to be produced, and to contribute to a global WBI in due course. For more information about producing regional and national Wild Bird Indices, contact Richard Gregory at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) (Richard.Gregory@rspb.org.uk) and/or Ian Burfield at BirdLife International (Ian.Burfield@birdlife.org).

Examples of national use:

EU/Europe:

North America:

UK:

Further resources

Key indicator facts

Indicator type

State

Applicable for national use

Yes

Indicator classification

Operational and included in the CBD's list of indicators

Indicator type

State

Applicable for national use

Yes

Indicator classification

Operational and included in the CBD's list of indicators

Last update

2016

Coverage

Global

Availability

Freely available

Partners

Ebcc

European Bird Census Council

Birdlife aug2013

BirdLife International

Rspb logo aug2013

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds

Contact point