0519 GMT February 23, 2020
More than 90 percent of the world's migratory birds are inadequately protected due to poorly coordinated conservation around the world, a new study published in the journal Science revealed, phys.org wrote.
Led by the ARC Center of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED), the research found huge gaps in the conservation of migratory birds, particularly across China, India, and parts of Africa and South America.
This results in the majority of migratory birds having ranges that are well covered by protected areas in one country, but poorly protected in another.
More than half of migratory bird species travelling the world's main flyways have suffered serious population declines in the past 30 years.
"This is due mainly to unequal and ineffective protection across their migratory range and the places they stop to refuel along their routes," said lead author Claire Runge of CEED and the University of Queensland.
"A typical migratory bird relies on many different geographic locations throughout its annual cycle for food, rest and breeding.
"So even if we protect most of their breeding grounds, it's still not enough —threats somewhere else can affect the entire population," she said. "The chain can be broken at any link."
The CEED study found that of 1,451 migratory bird species, 1,324 had inadequate protection for at least one part of their migration pathway. Eighteen species had no protection in their breeding areas and two species had no protection at all along their whole route.
For migratory bird species listed as threatened on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List by BirdLife International, less than three percent have sufficient protected areas.
The team also examined over 8,200 areas that have been identified as internationally important locations for migratory bird populations.
They found that just 22 percent are completely protected, and 41 percent only partially overlap with protected areas.