By consulting a global network of experts on the world’s most threatened birds and mammals, Birdlife International’s Chief Scientist Stuart Butchart was able to investigate how many species would have gone extinct over the last three decades in the absence of conservation action. The answer reveals how effective conservation efforts can be, even in the face of extreme threats.

Stuart Butchart

Stuart Butchart is Chief Scientist at BirdLife International, the world’s largest nature conservation partnership. He leads a team with an overall remit to develop BirdLife’s global scientific data, research and priority-setting to underpin and support the Conservation Programmes implemented by the BirdLife Partnership of over 110 national nature conservation organisations around the world, and to provide a sound scientific basis for BirdLife’s policy, advocacy and communication work. This includes identifying which bird species worldwide are closest to extinction – by regularly assessing all 11,000 bird species for the IUCN Red List (in our role as Red List Authority for birds for IUCN). It also includes identifying the most important sites for biodiversity, by defining (and guiding the application of) the global criteria for identifying Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) and supporting the identification and monitoring of a wider network of Key Biodiversity Areas, as well as collaborative research to address questions such as: what are the major threats to the world’s birds, which are the most urgent actions needed to improve their status, how can data from birds be used to track global environmental trends, and how can we measure conservation impact.

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