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Providing evidence to improve practice

Action: Raise awareness amongst the general public through campaigns and public information Bird Conservation

Key messages

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A review of programmes in the USA and Canada argues that education was not sufficient to change behaviour, although it was necessary as a catalytic factor for economic incentives and law enforcement.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

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A review of 16 case studies (six of which were directly related to birds) using before-and-after analyses in the USA and Canada (Byers 2003) found that education and awareness initiatives were necessary but insufficient in effective conservation projects. Of the six case studies concerning birds, education and awareness decreased the hunting of American black duck Anas rubripes (USA and Canada) and threatened geese through more stringent regulations; did not decrease lead poisoning of common loons Gavia immer in New England, three years after pamphlet distribution; decreased oil contamination in Colorado and Wyoming pits (USA) by 67%; increased hatching rates of snowy plovers Charadrius nivosus in California (USA) by 18% in 5 years; and doubled seabird populations in a region in Quebec (Canada). Overall, education and awareness was almost never a sufficient factor in changing behaviour, although it was necessary as a catalytic factor for economic incentives and law enforcement.

Referenced papers

Please cite as:

Williams, D.R., Child, M.F., Dicks, L.V., Ockendon, N., Pople, R.G., Showler, D.A., Walsh, J.C., zu Ermgassen, E.K.H.J. & Sutherland, W.J. (2018) Bird Conservation. Pages 95-244 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, N. Ockendon, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2018. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.