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Wednesday, 5 March 2014

RSPB Centre for Conservation Science and RSPB Science website launch

RSPB virtual Centre for Conservation Science and website launch

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February 2014 marks the launch of the RSPB's virtual Centre for Conservation Science, with associated website, and state of play review publication. Although the April 2013 review of the RSPB's scientific program, led by Professor Sir John Lawton, commended the work as "outstanding", it was recommended to provide a means of disseminating these data to interested parties and so was born the plans for the RSPB Science initiative.

Review Document (Link)
'Where science comes to life'
This 72 page document includes the current state of play for RSPB scientific research and how this has evolved over the recent decades, and begins with a description of why knowledge is key. Dr David W Gibbons, Head of the RSPB CfCS, introduces the knowledge-based mission statements as follows:
  • Knowing the important problems
'Our scientific work starts by identifying and prioritising the most important conservation problems for us to work on.'
  • Knowing the causes
'Once we have identified the most important conservation problems, we need to discover their causes – to make a diagnosis.'
  • Knowing the solutions
'Our diagnostic work suggests potential solutions that we can test.'
  • Knowing the action works
'The ultimate success for RSPB’s science is when the solutions emerging from our work are successfully translated into conservation action.'

Dr Gibbons then detailed the ten conservation challenges for the CfCS.

1. Improving our knowledge of the status of UK and UK Overseas Territories’ wildlife.
2. Understanding the causes of decline of UK’s summer migrant birds.
3. Improving the status of threatened species in the UK and overseas.
4. Producing food, fibre, energy and infrastructure alongside wildlife.
5. Guiding the restoration of degraded habitats and ecosystems
6. Understanding the impacts of, and helping wildlife adapt to, a changing climate.
7. Understanding the impacts of environmental change in the oceans.
8. Informing designation and management of protected areas on land and at sea.
9. Understanding how people benefit from, and connect to, nature.
10. Building capacity in conservation science.

The publication then highlights some of the key findings from a diverse spectrum of research in which the RSPB has a role. These include:

  • Species Monitoring
  • Farmland and biodiversity
  • Upland conservation
  • Pinewood management
  • Predation in lowland breeding birds
  • Raptor persecution
  • Seabird tracking
  • Saving endangered species
  • Worldwide conservation programs

At the end of the document is a detailed list of the 88 PhD research projects that the RSPB and their staff have been involved with between 2003 and 2013. This is a significant investment of time and money from the RSPB and should be commended as such.

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