The Atlas of Duck Populations in Eastern Europe is a synthesis of recent knowledge on 11 duck species of Eastern Europe, in six Eastern European countries (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, European Russia, Belarus and Ukraine).
Seven of these species are dabbling ducks of the genus Anas: Eurasian Widgeon, Gadwall, Common Teal, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Garganey and Northern Shoveler while the four others are diving ducks of the genus Aythya: Ferruginous Duck, Common Pochard, Tufted Duck, Greater Scaup.
Preface by Jean-Marc Michel, Director General of Planning, Housing and Nature of the French Ministry for Ecology, Sustainable Development, Transport and Housing, and written by prominent duck specialists from Eastern Europe. Atlas of Duck Populations in Eastern Europe provides new data on these migratory birds, in a key geographical area for their conservation which provides refuge for the major part of their Palearctic populations: e.g. over 90% for the Eurasian Wigeon, Northern Pintail and Greater Scaup.
Atlas of Duck Populations in Eastern Europe documents the distribution range, the numbers and population trends, migration routes, the current conservation status of each species, and identifies the factors which regulate or threaten their populations. It also shows the recent changes in the distribution, behavior and survival strategy of these birds affected by climate change: the shift to the northeast of the breeding range, shorter migration routes, introduction of new routes and stopover sites, emergence of a continental wintering and development since the 1980s/1990s to partially migratory and sedentary populations right into the heart of major urban areas.
These are some of the biological responses of these birds to the various transformations in their ecosystems and habitats, and indeed it is this ability to adapt, or lack of which their existence depends upon.
While the impact of man on nature is continuously increasing, a policy of biodiversity management should more than ever take into account that biodiversity is a concept inseparable from the notion of evolution.
The willingness to act for the conservation of Palearctic migratory waterbirds can not be limited to the boundaries of the 27 Member States of the European Union; it must be handled at global level through initiatives outside its borders, with States where the major part of their populations is nesting (Eastern Europe and Russia), as much as within States where these birds winter (especially Africa), based on already operating networks of local experts.
These initiatives may take the shape of a scientific cooperation destined to produce accurate knowledge (implementation of protocols and indicators for monitoring bird populations to evaluate levels and trends, selection of indicators to measure the quality and the dynamics of their habitats) and/or of legal assistance to develop regulatory tools compatible with the EU 'Birds' and 'Habitats' directives and international conventions.
The African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement (AEWA), international conventions such as the Bonn Convention (CMS) and the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar), adapted to the flyway level of Palearctic migratory birds, provide the foundation for sustainable management of their populations around the world.
Migratory birds whose prosperity depends on their seasonal ability to exploit the sites where they stop in various countries or even continents, is a living denominator between geographic regions often great distances apart. But they are also, and above all, the inalienable common good of people of different backgrounds and cultures. Their reasonable conservation is a duty for our societies and a great challenge.
"[...] In providing this information and highlighting the value of status assessments that integrate information from all parts of the flyway, the authors have made an extremely valuable contribution to duck conservation and management across the whole of Europe."
- Richard Hearn, Ibis 156, 2014