Conservation Challenges

No available conservation challenges
The Conservation Challenge Maps show the footprint of select human activities and environmental changes across the hemisphere.

Birds tell us about the health of our environment, and by mapping where, when, and how extensively species are exposed to human activities and environmental changes, we can better understand the challenges birds face and explore solutions that will maximize benefits for birds and people.

Note: These maps do not estimate impacts to bird populations and are not meant to represent a complete list of major issues facing migratory birds.
Residential & Commercial Development
We all need a safe place to live and work, yet the building of homes, businesses, and other infrastructure can impact birds by reducing their ability to find food, care for young, and fly freely.
Agriculture & Aquaculture
We all depend on agriculture to feed our families, and communities across the hemisphere depend on it for their livelihoods. In some cases, growing food for people and livestock can have unintended consequences for birds, including habitat degradation and mortality from pesticides.
Energy Production & Mining
Extracting energy, metals, and other resources from our environment can permanently transform landscapes, increase noise and air pollution, and create water contamination concerns. Local communities bear the brunt of these impacts. Birds in the area are also at risk, particularly from collisions with machinery and exposure to toxic waste.
Transportation & Service
The transportation systems and infrastructure that move people and resources across the world can damage natural landscapes and increase the frequency of bird deaths, such as through collisions with vehicles or power lines.
Biological Resource Use
Humans use natural resources in many ways, such as the harvest of trees for timber and the harvest of fish for food. Such extraction of resources can impact bird populations by altering the places they feed and nest or by removing the food that they depend on. Best practices and careful planning can help minimize the risks associated with these activities.
Human Intrusions
Spending time outdoors is important for our health. Unfortunately, sometimes our well-meaning outdoor activities can unintentionally damage habitat and create risks for birds, such as through the destruction of shorebird nests on popular beaches.
Natural System Modifications
Many of the ways we protect and maintain our communities can change the basic functioning of our natural systems – suppressing fires, disrupting the natural regeneration of forested areas, reducing the natural filtering of water through wetlands, and shifting the flow of waterways. These changes reduce the ability of our natural systems to withstand drought, floods, and other changes, which impact bird habitat and bird health.
Invasive & Problematic Species
In many places, non-native species have been introduced over the centuries either intentionally or by accident. When new plants and animals are brought into new places, or when conditions are artificially created that favor some species over others, certain species can become invasive and prevent birds from feeding or successfully nesting. Other times invasive species can increase the risk that birds suffer from disease. Controlling the risk posed by invasive species requires careful attention from local and regional managers.
No visualization data yet for this conservation challenge.
Pollution
By adding toxins, nutrients, or energy (e.g., light or noise) into the environment, people can cause changes that reduce food availability or increase mortality risks for birds. While pollution can have severe impacts for people and birds, it is also difficult to measure and map. Thus, we have limited information on the hemispheric distribution of most pollutants and the impacts that they have on both people and birds.
Geological Events
Although they are infrequent, major geological events (such as volcanic eruptions, tsunamis) can impact birds just as they do people, especially some of the highly concentrated and vulnerable populations that inhabit volcanic or low-lying islands. Geological events can cause direct mortality and impact the habitat birds need to feed and nest.
No visualization data yet for this conservation challenge.
Climate Change
Climate change impacts us all, but not in equal ways. It is both an effect of human activities and a cause of environmental change. Because of the disparity in resources, low-income communities and those with a majority of Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color residents often bear the brunt of the negative impacts of climate change. These same threats also impact the health and habitat of birds. Climate change is caused by many other conservation challenges (such as oil and gas development, concentrated resource use in urban areas) and in many instances, it makes the impacts of other conservation challenges even more severe.

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