Spatially explicit risk mapping reveals direct anthropogenic impacts on migratory birds

Claire Buchan, Aldina M. A. Franco, Inês Catry, Anna Gamero, Alena Klvaňová, James J. Gilroy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
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Aim: Migratory species rely on multiple ranges across the annual cycle, rendering them vulnerable to a wide range of spatially disparate anthropogenic threats. The spatial distribution of these threats will strongly influence the magnitude of their population-scale effects, but this has not been quantitatively assessed for most species. Location: Europe, Central Asia, Western Asia, Africa. Time period: Modern. Major taxa studied: Aves. Methods: We combined remote-sensed data and expert opinion to map 16 anthropogenic threats relevant to migratory birds across Europe, Africa and the Middle East – including the first spatially-explicit pan-continental assessment of relative hunting pressure. By combining the resulting composite threat maps with species range polygons and morpho-behavioural traits-based weightings (reflecting relative threat susceptibility), we created species-specific risk maps for 103 Afro-Palaearctic migratory birds breeding in Europe and evaluated how spatial threat vulnerability relates to long-term population trends. Results: We found that greater vulnerability to direct mortality threats (including hunting pressure, infrastructure and nocturnal lights), especially in the non-breeding season, is associated with declining bird population trends. Main conclusions: Our results emphasize the importance of spatially explicit approaches to quantifying anthropogenic drivers of population declines. Composite risk maps represent a valuable resource for spatial analyses of anthropogenic threats to migratory birds, allowing for targeted conservation actions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1707-1725
Number of pages19
JournalGlobal Ecology and Biogeography
Issue number9
Early online date24 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2022


  • Afro-Palaearctic
  • anthropogenic change
  • breeding
  • hunting
  • migratory birds
  • non-breeding
  • threat mapping

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