The European directive for the protection of birds has had a positive impact on endangered species. Birds benefiting from increased protection are surviving better and better, and their populations are increasing. This is according to a study by the association BirdLife International, the British organisation Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and Durham University (England). BirdLife International looked at all the European bird species covered by the European bird directive. This directive protects them and requires censuses of their numbers in Europe. The directive sets out special protection zones for the conservation and restoration of endangered bird specie’s habitats.
The researchers have noticed a trend: the higher the specie’s protective status, the better it does. “Species like the Crane, the Tawny Vulture and the White-tailed Eagle are doing very well in Europe, compared to other species which have no or little protection. Their populations have exploded. There are 100 times more White-headed ducks and 5 times more Dalmatian Pelicans than a few decades ago”, claim scientists from BirdLife International.
The study also shows that endangered bird species do better in countries that have been a member of the European Union for a long time. They don’t do quite as well in new member States. “This study clearly shows and scientifically proves that the European directive really works. In terms of environmental and nature protection, Europe has proved that it can create clear and positive change”, says Ariel Brunner from the RSPB.
The nature protection association Natagora has also seen the directive’s beneficial effects on endangered bird species in Wallonia over the last few years. “Birds of prey, for example, are almost all under Annexe 1 of the directive (the most threatened species). It is clear that the directive and protective measures it put in place have played a role in their survival”, says Jean-Yves Paquet, director of studies at Natagora.