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Cooperative project for sharing monitoring data of wildfowls in East Asia

2014-08-23 (Sat) 20:00-22:00, Rikkyo Univ., Tokyo

Conveners: Sachiko Moriguchi (National Institute for Environmental Studies, Japan) and Lei Cao (Chinese Academy of Sciences, China)

[ contents ]
Statement of the purpose
1. Sharing monitoring data, K. Koyama
2. Improving conservation in the ROK, N. Moores
3. Connectivity between wintering sites, S. Moriguchi
4. Tracking of waterfowl migration, L. Cao
5. Network of the survey sites, A. Popovkina
Issues to be discussed

Statement of the purpose

Migratory waterbirds using the East Asian-Australasian Flyway are amongst the most threatened in the world because of the scale and pace of increasing population and economic development pressures in this region. We urgently need to undertake more research at the flyway level, to derive new knowledge about the magical migrations of waterbirds, to identify key threats and bottlenecks in their annual life cycle and to safeguard sufficient wetlands to ensure their survival, by establishing and improving collaboration and partnerships throughout our flyway, whilst also recognizing their links all around the world. Outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza virus and habitat destruction further under-line our lack of knowledge to support effective conservation measures for avian population in the region. Although each of the Range States have initiated conservation biology research and established and supported monitoring systems in each of the countries, international cooperation had been critically lacking in East Asia. Given the enormous pressures in this hemisphere, these factors make very difficult to promote effective conservation measures particularly for migratory birds at the flyway level.

The people share the same resources (i.e. migratory bird populations) should recognize the values and discuss the action plans for their conservation and management. This round table will provide an unique opportunity to discuss how best to conserve and manage migratory waterbirds in East Asia by gathering representatives from all of the countries concerned, to secure the continuation of the long history of international cooperation for conserving Anatidae.

In this forum, we will introduce our proposals to improve and increase ongoing cooperation on monitoring and research related to Anatidae in East Asia Australasian Flyway. This project was set up in order to share monitoring population data of wintering Anatidae and to promote their collaborative research, conservation and management throughout East Asia.

Secondly, we invite researchers and managers from each country of East Asia to present the results of their studies for a few key species of Anatidae which need conservation and management in East Asia. This will include an introduction to some of the specific problems which face conservation in each country, as well as a description of rare species which currently lack sufficient information to meet the needs of conservation.

Finally, an assessment of the population status of those key species in their breeding area will be presented and we will conclude with a discussion about the future directions for conservation and management of Anatidae at flyway level in East Asia.


Sharing Anatidae monitoring data in East Asia
Speaker: Kazuo Koyama (Bird Research, Japan)

Anatidae species in East Asia have breeding area in Russia and wintering area in China, Korea, and Japan. Species distributions and populations in the wintering countries are fairly well known. Nationwide monitoring of wintering Anatidae is annually carried out in Korea and Japan. Surveys are also done in China though coverage of sites are limited. On the other hand, survey of Russian breeding area would be difficult due to its large geographical scale.

Sharing monitoring data among the wintering countries will facilitate understanding of threatened Anatidae species, e.g. population and key wintering / stopover sites. Moreover, combined with knowledge of satellite tracking studies, monitoring data of wintering area could be used to know conditions of the Russian breeding sites.

Towards improving conservation of Anatidae in the ROK and regionally
Speaker: Nial Moores (Birds Korea, Republic of Korea)

The Convention on Biological Diversity commits most nations on the East Asian-Australasian Flyway to take steps to reduce biodiversity loss and decline within the present decade. Decision-makers therefore need best information on which species are most in decline if they are to identify conservation priorities and develop the most appropriate responses at the national and regional level within such a short time-frame. However, in many nations, there has been only a short history of bird monitoring and information on national population trends of species, including of Anatidae, are still difficult to access or are presented in ways that limit their usefulness. Moreover, there is still an absence of consensus on the regional trend of several species of Anatidae in East Asia. The conservation NGO Birds Korea therefore conducted research to identify bird population trends in the Republic of Korea (ROK) over two overlapping time-scales, historical (1910-1999) and recent (1990-2014). Despite the absence of long-term monitoring programs and limited information on population trends in the ROK, we were able to assess the status and population trends of all of the nationís regularly-occurring bird species including 34 species of Anatidae, and identify trends in the majority of species. To improve accessibility and ease of understanding, we then divided these species into major categories, including a Red List (Highest Priority species) and an Amber List (High Priority Species). Species with estimated declines of >50% since 1990 and / or which are globally threatened were placed on the Red List (including twelve species of Anatidae) and those which are globally near threatened and / or which have declined between 25% and 49% since 1990 were placed on the Amber List (including ten species of Anatidae). We believe that organization of information in this way, with clear time-frames and explicit assessment criteria can help researchers and decision-makers in their efforts to fulfill national and regional conservation obligations by 2020.

Connectivity between wintering sites for Greater white-fronted geese revealed by genetic structure
Speaker: Sachiko Moriguchi (National Institute of Environmental Studies, Japan)

Greater white-fronted geese are one of the major goose species in East Asia, and the population trends of the geese were different among countries. The population sizes in South Korea and Japan are increasing, on the other hand, which in China is rapidly decreasing. However, interchange of the individuals between the habitats in the countries was poorly known with only observing collar banded geese and a few cases of satellite tracking. The increasing population caused agricultural damages in stopover and wintering sites in Japan should be managed, but decreasing population in China needs conservation if these populations are different. This study investigated the management units of their population with the genetic structure in order to suggest direction for conservation and management of the geese. The strong connectivity of the wintering sites in East Asia should teach us a renewed recognition of the importance to cooperate continuously with our countries for management and conservation.

Tracking of waterfowl migration throughout the EAAF: developing a new international project over the next 6 years
Speaker: Lei Cao (Chinese Academy of Sciences, China)

The presentation will summarise the population size, key sites and recent trends of four geese species in the EAAF to generalise the gaps between our knowledge and conservation needs.

We will introduce the proposals for the bird tracking network drafted by the Chinese Academy of Sciences during 2016-2020, which involves 9 collaborating institutes, aiming to track 18 species and focusing on Anatidae. This project enables us to establish the relationships between breeding areas, moult sites, autumn staging, wintering and spring staging sites for key species and from this information, identify the locations of key sites, so that we can begin to assess the potential bottle necks in their annual cycle and the types of threats that these birds face at each of the critical stages throughout the year. In the long term, such insights will help us better understand the threats and pressures faced by these birds and come with suggestions for conservation policy and actions to enhance the population status of the species concerned.

We would like to work with other universities and organizations to achieve the above target. In order to get the most benefit from the tracking project, we should combine remote sensing and telemetry data with ground observation at each of the key sites. In order to do this successfully, we suggested an annual meeting to involve key people from different countries throughout the flyway, starting this November during the 16th Goose Specialist Group Meeting in China. We suggest also recommend the planning and instigation of synchronous counts across the winter range to generate populations estimates in Japan, North Korea, Korea and China, the establishment of regular monitoring of age ratios and family size in the population and in the longer term a capture-mark-recapture programme to assess survival and dispersal for the species concerned.

The need for establishment of continuous network of the survey sites for monitoring waterfowl migration along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway
Speaker: Anastasia Popovkina (Moscow State University, Russia)

The breeding grounds of the majority of Anatidae species using the East Asian-Australasian Flyway are located in northeastern and eastern Russia. Some of these species are rare, the populations of the other are declining, and the status of populations of some species seems to be stable and even safe. It is evident that the conservation measures should be applied to the former, but the constant monitoring of the latter is also essential for timely detection of the negative trends. The broad-scale surveys of Anseriformes on the Russian breeding grounds are hampered by the vastness of the territory, many large areas of which, particularly in the north, are difficult to access due to poor development of the transport network. That is why it is reasonable (in addition to available studies on the breeding grounds) to establish a network of the key sites for the monitoring of spring and autumn migrations of waterfowl in Russia (some of them had been already defined on the basis of the long-term observations on the Chukchi and Kamchatka peninsulas, Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands). It should be the part of the continuous network of such survey points stretching along the entire migration routes to the wintering grounds in Japan, China and Korea. Involvement of the experienced experts able to assess the sex and age ratio of migrating birds would also add to evaluation of the breeding success. International cooperation in this field is essential, since the measures for the protection of particular species could be defined only if the migratory populations are taken into consideration and the migratory flyways are used as territorial units for the population management and conservation.

Issues to be discussed

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Last update: 15 Aug. 2014, JOGA.