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Birds Korea Blueprint 2010 Released

Posted on 19. January, 2011.

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Birds Korea has released its 2010 Blueprint, which aims to support ongoing conservation initiatives as part of the Republic of Korea’s efforts to reduce the rate of biodiversity loss in line with commitments to the Millennium Development Goals.

It is a collection of articles and recommendations based on the understanding that biodiversity underpins the functioning of the ecosystems on which people also depend for life and livelihood. The Blueprint’s focus is the conservation of avian biodiversity of the Korea’s part of the Yellow Sea or ‘Yellow Sea Blueprint Region’ (YSBR), and contains essential information on key sites, species and conservation initiatives divided into three main habitats (intertidal wetland, open sea areas, and islands).

The YSBR, which is at the heart of the East Asian –Australasian Flyway, is a region under huge development pressure. According to the report, reclamation is the major driver of avian biodiversity decline and has reduced the national area of intertidal wetland by more than 70% to only 106,000 hectares. The health of remaining intertidal wetland is also threatened by pollution, estuary dams and infrastructure development along rivers. The majority of shorebird species and species dependent on intertidal wetlands are therefore in decline or are globally threatened. The report notes that the Saemangeum reclamation project has resulted in a significant loss of habitat for more than 20% of the world population of Great Knot (Calidris tenuirostris).

There is less information on seabirds and birds on islands of the YSBR. However, the marine environment of the Yellow Sea is increasingly ’stressed’, and seabirds at sea are likely threatened by oil and other pollution, as well as unsustainable fisheries. In addition, some seabird colonies, including of Swinhoe’s Storm Petrel (Oceanodroma monorhis), are threatened by invasive alien species. Many migrant bird species on islands, like the island-nesting Styan’s Grasshopper Warbler (Locustella pleskei), also appear to be in decline.

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