Bridging a gap in marine conservation: delivering a toolkit to inform and advance site-based conservation solutions for migratory marine birds

Bridging a gap in marine conservation: delivering a toolkit to inform and advance site-based conservation solutions for migratory marine birds

Migratory marine birds are threatened and their conservation is challenging because their ranges span vast areas, which are at risk from mounting anthropogenic pressures. Animal tracking data is playing a critical role in revealing areas of importance for these species. However, standardised tools to derive conservation recommendations from such data for migratory marine birds are lacking. This can mean the outputs from projects utilizing animal tracking data are misaligned to the impacts they intend to deliver. Therefore, there is a clear need for tools that help bridge the gap between turning large, complex datasets into accessible products for decision-makers.

Project Aims

The project aims to fill a key gap by creating a widely applicable, open-access toolkit (an online handbook) that will enhance the abilities of scientists, conservation practitioners and policy makers to collaborate more effectively. Specifically, through considering a standardized framework to identify sites contributing significantly to global persistence of biodiversity, Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs), the toolkit will guide users through three overarching components required to achieve conservation outcomes for migratory marine birds: the technical, conservation and advocacy components. Enhanced knowledge of these components will support individuals and countries to achieve international targets outlined in various policy instruments.

Key Activities

  • Develop an overarching Theory of Change addressing how to maximise the conservation impact of globally important areas identified for biodiversity.
  • Technical: Literature review and information gathering exercise regarding key methods toward important site identification for migratory marine birds with a focus on KBAs.
  • Conservation: Identify major threats to key taxa and the appropriate spatial scales for their conservation.
  • Advocacy: Compile evidence of site-based conservation solutions and advocacy opportunities for key taxa.
  • Synthesise the technical, conservation and advocacy components into an open-access toolkit (an online handbook).
  • Collaborate with network of partners during toolkit development.
  • Communicate toolkit to relevant practitioners and managers.

Conservation Impact

The ultimate impact of this project is to contribute to skills development so that more scientists, policy makers and conservation practitioners can effectively collaborate to identify important sites for migratory marine birds using complex data, and to then advocate for the conservation or management of such sites. Through identifying ecologically representative sites, particularly for those areas where monitoring biodiversity is challenging, the project serves to better inform relevant policies. Specifically, the toolkit will support relevant groups and individuals to achieve and deliver against national, regional and international environmental agreements.


The living output of the project will be an online toolkit showcasing how to identify and advocate for the protection and management of important sites for migratory marine birds. Specific outputs:

1. Theory of Change (ToC): Mapping of causal pathways required to deliver conservation outcomes for migratory marine birds.

2. Web-based toolkit (online handbook) in R Markdown (hosted on BirdLife server) tailored for specific audiences.

3. Scientific paper summarising the ToC and Toolkit.

4. Presentation of the toolkit at a minimum of two internationally relevant platforms.

5. Publicity of the toolkit through each collaborator’s media connections.

CCI partners Involved

Other Organisations Involved

Comité Nacional Pro Defensa de la Flora y Fauna (CODEFF, Chile),

BirdLife South Africa (South Africa),

The Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS, India)