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Scientists Pour Cold Water On European Union Bird Policy

Date:
February 29, 2008
Source:
University of Exeter
Summary:
New research questions claims made in August in the journal Science that EU conservation policy has been successful in protecting endangered birds. New research, also published in Science, reveals that the arguments presented in the study were flawed and based on inadequate data and predictions, according to critics.
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New research from the University of Exeter in collaboration with the University of Texas at Austin published in the journal Science on February 22, 2008 questions claims that EU conservation policy has been successful in protecting endangered birds.

Introduced in 1979, the EU Birds Directive set out a plan to protect rare birds in all EU countries. A study by scientists from the RSPB and BirdLife International, published in Science in August 2007, argued that the policy had resulted in positive impacts on bird conservation, even saving species that were near extinction.*

This new research, however, reveals that the arguments presented in the recent study were flawed and based on inadequate data and predictions. By simply comparing bird populations inside and outside of the EU, the research did not take into account the fact that EU countries are generally wealthier and more developed than European countries outside the Union.

Additionally the evidence used to support EU policy included marine reserves in some countries, but ignored them in others. The Exeter researchers argue that this created the impression that the major EU policy for bird protection has been a success when in reality it may well have fallen short of its original aims.

The new research argues that conservation policies require systematic monitoring and evaluation if they are to be scientifically valid. "Current EU conservation policy can be likened to launching a rocket to Mars, but not actually bothering to check whether it gets there" said lead author Rolando Rodríguez-Muñoz of the University of Exeter.

"Without properly monitoring the efficacy of its policies, the EU risks wasting millions of pounds on ineffective conservation programmes." He commented further: "The Birds and Habitats Directives have become the keystones of the EU conservation policies. They are potentially powerful tools to protect our environment, but for these efforts to be efficient we need feedback to allow us to adapt to new situations or to correct poor implementation.

*See http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070810074554.htm.


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The above post is reprinted from materials provided by University of Exeter. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


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University of Exeter. "Scientists Pour Cold Water On European Union Bird Policy." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 February 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080227104237.htm>.
University of Exeter. (2008, February 29). Scientists Pour Cold Water On European Union Bird Policy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080227104237.htm
University of Exeter. "Scientists Pour Cold Water On European Union Bird Policy." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080227104237.htm (accessed July 29, 2015).

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