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Waterbird Populations and Pressures in the Baltic Sea

image of Waterbird Populations and Pressures in the Baltic Sea

This report outlines the results of the internationally coordinated census of wintering waterbirds in the Baltic Sea 2007-2009 undertaken under the SOWBAS project (Status of wintering Waterbird populations in the Baltic Sea). The estimated total number of wintering waterbirds was 4.41 million compared to 7.44 million during the last co-ordinated census 1992-1993. Despite the general declines stable or increasing populations of herbivorous species were recorded. While benthic carnivores with a coastal distribution have either shown moderate declines, stable or increasing populations seaducks with an offshore distribution have declined seriously. Based on analyses of trends in wintering waterbirds and pressures indicators are suggested as performance indicators in relation to the international and national actions taken to reduce the anthropogenic pressures in the Baltic Sea.

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Changes in wintering populations of waterbirds in the Baltic Sea

On the following pages the results of the analysis of trends in the numbers of wintering waterbirds in selected regions with comparable yearly coverage between 1987 and 2008 are presented species by species. The purpose of the trend analyses has mainly been to allow for an interpretation of the differences observed in the distribution and abundance of several species between 1992–1993 and 2007–2009. To that end, the trends in the waterbirds would also allow us to link numbers of individual species per region with trends in the selected pressures. With the exception of the trends which have been established for the Long-tailed Ducks on Hoburgs Bank the trend data stem from counts in coastal areas. These coastal counts have to a large degree been undertaken as part of the Wetlands International Midwinter Census.

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