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Report on the Pan-European Common Bird Monitoring Scheme, December 2015

The report summarizes the activities of the Pan-European Common Bird Monitoring Scheme (PECBMS) between July and December 2015. In this period our work was driven mainly by the organisation of the fifth PECBMS workshop. Several issues have been prepared for the discussion at the workshop, e.g. improvements of national farmland bird indicators, publication and promotional strategy etc. Besides this, we continued to cooperate on research projects. Regular collation of updated national species population trends and indices started in December.

Workshop

PECBMS workshop was organised back-to-back with meetings of other initiatives running under the umbrella of EBCC, the European Breeding Bird Atlas and the EuroBird Portal, in the beginning of November. The joint meeting of participants of these projects was beneficial to all by sharing the ideas and learning from each other. All the workshop presentations and conclusions are available online. The overview of workshop discussions and conclusions will be summarized in the Bird Census News.

Improvements in national farmland bird indicators (FBI)

Provision of the national FBIs (using national species selection) to the European Commission (DG Agri, Eurostat) together with the new approach to benchmarking of the national FBIs have been discussed at the workshop. National coordinators were generally in favour to provide their FBIs to the European Commission. However, it was pointed out that such decision is fully in hands of national monitoring coordinators. This delivery is considered as provisional. Further deliveries require standardisation of the indicators production at national level, and funding. Workshop participants also recommended further exploration of new approach of potential new benchmarking indicator.

Research

A paper exploring species population trends and their links to main policy drivers at the EU level led by PECBMS research officer, Anna Gamero, is almost ready for submission. Another paper by Peter Jørgenssen which uses national species trends and is exploring the birds response to climate change has been published in Global Change Biology in October. Besides this, we continue to cooperate with external researchers on seven more studies. In four of them, the data analysis is still in progress. Three other studies are already in a procedure of writing the manuscripts. PECBMS coordination team will provide concise information about all research projects where PECBMS has been involved to the national coordinators. In longer-term, such information should be available regularly.

Collection of national species indices

We started to collect new national data from 28 countries contributing to PECBMS for next update of European species indices and indicators in December. Updated European results are expected in June/July 2016. We will explore the possibility of including new species and countries to enlarge the coverage both in Europe and bird species.

PECBMS publication and promotion strategy

The PECBMS publication strategy has been under revision during last year. Based on an on-line questionnaire focused on use and impact of current promotional materials we have prepared a new type of leaflet dedicated to the promotion of our results to wide audience consisting of national coordinators, volunteer counters, policy people, scientists etc. Apart from the printed promotional publication (leaflet), respondents of the questionnaire were interested in online reports and articles at the EBCC website and news(letter) distributed by e-mail. The other way how to promote our results to the research community and make our outputs citable is to publish them in a form of data paper approximately once per three years. This option was discussed at the workshop and got a general support. However, we have received recommendation to explore the conditions of this type of publication more deeply. No matter if the data paper will be published or not it has been discussed and approved by the workshop participants that the PECBMS supranational outputs (European species indices and indicators) will be freely available for download at the EBCC website. In this context, PECBMS Data Access and Co-authorship Policy has to be changed which was appointed as a task for PECBMS coordination team together with approval from the EBCC Board.

Use of PECBMS outputs in policy and presentations

The updated indicators has been sent to Eurostat and European Commission. PECBMS supranational outputs (European species indices and indicators) have been also provided to various institutions or individuals for use in policy or raising public awareness or for research purposes. Since June, our data has been used in five cases, for example, regional farmland bird indicators were used in a study for Greenpeace Europe, European species trends were provided for a comparision at the Red List of birds in Flanders (Belgium) etc.

PECBMS network and assistance to countries and international institutions

PECBMS workshop has represented a great opportunity for networking. We have strengthened our contacts with national coordinators and importantly also with policy makers, BirdLife Europe, coordinators of national atlases and people active in developing online portals in Europe. On our mailing list we currently keep 157 contacts from 49 countries or territories, including coordinators of national monitoring schemes, EBCC national delegates and BirdLife partner organisations as well as policy people and decision makers.
We provided assistance on methods, TRIM computation procedure, indicators etc. to coordinators of monitoring schemes from Croatia or Czech Republic.

Pan-European Common Bird Monitoring Scheme is a joint initiative of the European Bird Census Council (EBCC) and BirdLife International. Since its beginning in 2002, the PECBMS project has been supported by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB, the BirdLife International Partner in the UK). Since January 2006 the project has been funded by the European Commission as well.

     

Contacts

Project coordinator: Petr Voříšek, e-mail: EuroMonitoringbirdlife.cz.

Technical assistant: Jana Škorpilová, email: skorpilovabirdlife.cz.

Technical assistant (part time): Alena Klvaňová, email: klvanovabirdlife.cz.

Research officer: Anna Gamero, email: gamerobirdlife.cz.

All based at the Czech Society for Ornithology, Na Bělidle 34, CZ-150 00 Prague 5, Czech Republic, phone +420 257 212 465.

Project manager: Richard Gregory, Head of Species Monitoring and Research, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, The Lodge, Sandy, Bedfordshire, SG19 2DL, United Kingdom, e-mail: richard.gregoryrspb.org.uk

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