Waterfowl populations of conservation concern: learning from diverse challenges, models and conservation strategies
There are 30 threatened or endangered species of waterfowl worldwide, and several sub-populations are also threatened. Some of these species occur in North America, and others there are also of conservation concern due to declining population trends and their importance to hunters. Here we review conservation initiatives being undertaken for several of these latter species, along with conservation measures in place in Europe, to seek common themes and approaches that could be useful in developing broad conservation guidelines. While focal species may vary in their lifehistories, population threats and geopolitical context, most conservation efforts have used a systematic approach to understand factors limiting populations and to identify possible management or policy actions. This approach generally includes a priori identification of plausible hypotheses about population declines or status, incorporation of hypotheses into conceptual or quantitative planning models, and the use of some form of structured decision making and adaptive management to develop and implement conservation actions in the face of many uncertainties. A climate of collaboration among jurisdictions sharing these birds is important to the success of a conservation or management programme. The structured conservation approach exemplified herein provides an opportunity to involve stakeholders at all planning stages, allows for all views to be examined and incorporated into model structures, and yields a format for improved communication, cooperation and learning, which may ultimately be one of the greatest benefits of this strategy.
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