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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: International bird conservation policies can successfully reverse population declines of bird species

Published source details

Donald P.F., Sanderson F.J., Burfield I.J., Bierman S.M., Gregory R.D. & Waliczky Z. (2007) International conservation policy delivers benefits for birds in Europe. Science, 317, 810-813


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Legally protect habitats Bird Conservation

A controlled, before-and-after study from 1970-2000 across Europe (Donald 2007) found that targeted species in European Union (EU) countries, which were legally obliged to increase coverage of special protected areas (SPAs), had significantly more positive population trends after implementation of the directive and compared to non-EU countries (no implementation). Statistical models suggested that for every additional 1% increase in SPA area, the chances of all species experiencing positive population growth increased by 4%, with a 7% increase for target species. The authors argue that the stronger response of the target species provides direct evidence for the effectiveness of the EU Bird (79/409/EEC, est. 1979) and Habitats (92/43/EEC, est. 1992) Directives. Although non-target species’ trends did not differ between EU and non-EU countries there was some evidence that these populations were more positive in EU countries with more extensive SPA networks.

Use legislative regulation to protect wild populations Bird Conservation

A controlled, before-and-after study from 1970-2000 across Europe (Donald et al. 2007) found that target bird species appeared to benefit from the passing of the EU Birds (79/409/EEC, est. 1979) and Habitats (92/43/EEC, est. 1992) Directives. This study is discussed in ‘Habitat protection – Legally protect habitats’.