Tracking Progress Toward EU Biodiversity Strategy Targets: EU Policy Effects in Preserving its Common Farmland Birds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Maximizing the area under biodiversity-related conservation measures is a main target of the European Union (EU) Biodiversity Strategy to 2020. We analyzed whether agrienvironmental schemes (AES) within EU common agricultural policy, special protected areas for birds (SPAs), and Annex I designation within EU Birds Directive had an effect on bird population changes using monitoring data from 39 farmland bird species from 1981 to 2012 at EU scale. Populations of resident and short-distance migrants were larger with increasing SPAs and AES coverage, while Annex I species had higher population growth rates with increasing SPAs, indicating that SPAs may contribute to the protection of mainly target species and species spending most of their life cycle in the EU. Because farmland birds are in decline and the negative relationship of agricultural intensification with their population growth rates was evident during the implementation of AES and SPAs, EU policies seem to generally attenuate the declines of farmland bird populations, but not to reverse them.


  • Anna Gamero
  • Lluís Brotons
  • Ariel Brunner
  • Ruud P B Foppen
  • Lorenzo Fornasari
  • Richard D. Gregory
  • Sergi Herrando
  • David Hořák
  • Frédéric Jiguet
  • Primož Kmecl
  • Aleksi Lehikoinen
  • Jean-Yves Paquet
  • Jiří Reif
  • Päivi M. Sirkiä
  • Jana Škorpilová
  • Arco Van Strien
  • Tibor Szép
  • Tomáš Telenský
  • Norbert Teufelbauer
  • Sven Trautmann
  • Chris A M Van Turnhout
  • Zdeněk Vermouzek
  • Thomas Vikstrøm
  • Petr Voříšek
External organisations
  • Radboud University Nijmegen
  • Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
  • Natural History Museum of Barcelona
  • Charles University in Prague
  • Pierre and Marie Curie University
  • University of Helsinki
  • Natagora
  • Statistics Netherlands
  • University of Nyíregyháza
  • BirdLife Austria
  • Dachverband Deutscher Avifaunisten e.V.
  • Czech Society for Ornithology (CSO)
  • Forest Technology Centre of Catalonia
  • Centre for Ecological Research and Forestry (CERAF)
  • BirdLife Europe
  • European Bird Census Council
  • Dutch Centre for Field Ornithology
  • BirdLife Italy
  • BirdLife Slovenia
  • Palacký University
  • Institute of Vertebrate Biology, CAS
  • Dansk Ornitologisk Forening - BirdLife Denmark
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Ecology
  • Zoology
  • Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use


  • Agricultural intensification, Agrienvironmental schemes, Bird monitoring, Birds directive, Common agriculture policy, Natura 2000, SPA
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)395-402
JournalConservation Letters
Issue number4
Early online date2017 Feb 13
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jul
Publication categoryResearch

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