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Bird diversity and conservation


Biodiversity is the degree of variation of life forms within a given species, ecosystem, biome, or an entire planet. Biodiversity is a measure of the health of ecosystems. Biodiversity is in part a function of climate. In terrestrial habitats, tropical regions are typically rich whereas polar regions support fewer species.

Rapid environmental changes typically cause mass extinctions. One estimate is that less than 1% of the species that have existed on Earth are extant.

The period since the emergence of humans has displayed an ongoing biodiversity reduction and an accompanying loss of genetic diversity. Named the Holocene extinction, the reduction is caused primarily by human impacts, particularly habitatdestruction. Conversely, biodiversity impacts human health in a number of ways, both positively and negatively.

The United Nations designated 2011-2020 as the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity.



Bird conservation is a field in the science of conservation biology related to threatened birds. Humans have had a profound effect on many bird species.

The main threats are:

  • Habitat loss (destruction and fragmentation of habitat)
  • Introduced species (new predators), especially on islands a threat to endemic species.
  • Hunting (illegal game hunting)
  • Exploitation (illegal pet trade)
  • Hybridisation with relative and introduced species (invasive exotics)

 The main objectives of bird conservation are to

  1. Identify population declines that signal underlying degradation of habitats and ecosystems
  2. Identify the causes for these declines, and
  3. Find biological solutions such as habitat preservation which can be used to repair the underlying causes of bird declines.

Scientists and conservation professionals have developed a number of techniques to protect bird species. These techniques have had varying levels of success

  • Captive breeding or aviculture (ex-situ conservation)
  • Reintroduction and translocations (in-situ conservation)
  • Habitat protection (in-situ conservation)
    • Including public awareness, such as the Silent Forest Campaign by EAZA. 

More information:

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