On November 21st, the “2020 Spoon-billed Sandpiper Conservation Alliance Annual Meeting” was held in Tiaozini, Dongtai, Jiangsu Province, China. More than 80 representatives, including attendees online from research institutes, Local civil society organizations and members of the Spoon-billed Sandpiper Conservation Alliance, attended the meeting to address the conservation of World Natural Heritage Sites and endangered birds.
The event was organised by the Spoon-billed Sandpiper Conservation Alliance and undertaken by the Dongtai Coastal Economic Zone Management Committee, the SEE Taihu Lake Project Centre, the Mangrove Foundation (MCF) and the Center for East Asian-Australasian Flyway Studies (CEAAF) of Beijing Forestry University.
Mr. Lv Hongtao, Municipal Secretary of the Dongtai Coastal Economic Zone Management Committee, Ms. Sun Lili, Founder of MCF, the 8th President of the Society of Entrepreneurs & Ecology (SEE) and the Chair of the Executive Committee of the Spoon-billed Sandpiper Conservation Alliance, Mr. Doug Watkins, Chief Executive of EAAFP, Ling Songting, Chair of the SEE Taihu Lake Project Centre, and Shen Yilan, Deputy Dean of the School of Ecology and Nature Conservation at Beijing Forestry University, delivered opening remarks.
To enhance collaborations, national and international experts exchanged knowledge and experience. Mr. Bernard Baerends, Executive Secretary of Common Wadden Sea Secretariat (CWSS), Dr. Evgeny Syroechkovskiy, Chair of SBS Task Force, Ms. Nicola Crockford, Senior International Species Policy Officer of Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), Dr. Jia Yifei of EAAFP Science Unit and CEAAF, Mr. Peng Hebo from CEAAF, not only gave presentations on international approaches, but also answered questions and shared brilliant insights. Representatives of Alliance members, including SEE Foundation, Paulson Institute, MCF and CEAAF, shared national practise along China coastal wetland.
The Spoon-billed Sandpiper is the flagship species of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, and it plays an important role in global biodiversity conservation. Every year, nearly half the world’s population of this Critically Endangered species will forage, moult and stay at the Jiangsu coast, especially Tiaozini, which was newly included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site, for up to three months every year.
Continuous long-term population monitoring is the basis for the study and protection of coastal migratory waterbirds represented by the Spoon-billed Sandpiper. The Center for East Asian-Australian Flyway Studies (CEAAF), together with other research institutes, recently started continuous monitoring of waterbird populations in the southern coastal areas of Jiangsu province from August to November. The population and species of waterbirds in five survey regions , including Tiaozini, were regularly monitored, and a total of 111 species and 950,552 sub-waterbirds were recorded. Among them, the highest number of critically endangered spoon-billed sandpiper was 80, accounting for 26.67% of the migratory route. A total of 1,150 Nordmann’s Greenshanks, 2.3 times the original estimate of the population recognized by the international community, were recorded in the 720-mu high tide area of the Tiaozini. It is worth noting that the number of 23 species of waterbirds recorded in Tiaozini exceeds 1% of the population in the migratory zone, which is far higher than the standard of international important wetlands, indicating the importance of Tiaozini and other coastal wetlands in southern Jiangsu province.
At present, there are four protected wetland mini-reserves along the coast of Dongtai, namely Binhai, Dongsha, Gaoni and Tiaozini, in addition to Jiangsu Yancheng Wetland National Nature Reserve, with a total area of 159,100 ha. The conservation rate of natural wetlands in Dongtai has reached 69.1%.
The Alliance will actively assist the Dongtai Coastal Economic Zone Management Committee in promoting the work related to the 48 ha of fish ponds in the Dongtai Tiaozini Tide Watching Zone and the artificial intervention and control of nearly 33 ha of invasive species spartina cordgrass.
During the meeting, an exhibition of wetland biodiversity was held in conjunction with the meeting, including 20 winning and finalists photos of the 2019 EAAFP Waterbirds Photo Contest, provided by the EAAFP Secretariat.
News in Chinese posted on 25 November 2020, please click [here].