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Science. 2007 Aug 10;317(5839):810-3.

International conservation policy delivers benefits for birds in Europe.

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  • 1Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, The Lodge, Sandy, Bedfordshire SG19 2DL, UK.


Conservation of the planet's biodiversity will depend on international policy intervention, yet evidence-based assessment of the success of such intervention is lacking. Poor understanding of the effectiveness of international policy instruments exposes them to criticism or abandonment and reduces opportunities to improve them. Comparative analyses of population trends provide strong evidence for a positive impact of one such instrument, the European Union's Birds Directive, and we identify positive associations between the rate of provision of certain conservation measures through the directive and the response of bird populations. The results suggest that supranational conservation policy can bring measurable conservation benefits, although future assessments will require the setting of quantitative objectives and an increase in the availability of data from monitoring schemes.

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