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Waterbirds flock to well-run countries, new study shows

29 / 12 / 2017, Mongabaycom News

A country’s citizens aren’t the only ones to benefit from living in a place that’s run well. In a new study, a team of scientists reports that the most important factor that determines the conservation status of waterbird species is how effectively a country is managed. “Political instability can weaken legal enforcement, and consequently promote unsuitable, often illegal, killing even in protected areas,” Tatsuya Amano, a conservation biologist at Cambridge University in the U.K., said in a statement. “Although the global coverage of protected areas continues to increase, our findings suggest that ineffective governance could undermine the benefits of these biodiversity conservation efforts.” Amano is the lead author of a paper published Dec. 20 in the journal Nature. A flock of greater white-fronted geese (Anser albifrons) at Miyajima-numa, Japan. The species is one of several that were shown in this study to have declined in western Asia. Photo by Tatsuya Amano/Cambridge University. Conservation scientists have long understood that efforts to protect wildlife are harder to get off the ground in poorly run countries. But until now, they didn’t have enough data to zero in on an identifiable trend. To tackle that problem, Amano and her colleagues tabulated yearly totals of more than 460 waterbird species from nearly 26,000 spots across the globe, looking into how species’ numbers fluctuated between 1990 and 2013. The team then compared those changes in waterbird abundance with a dataset from the World Bank called the Worldwide Governance Indicators, which measures factors related to how countries…

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