The Journal “Chinese Birds” and Crane Conservation

Nial Moores, October 17th

A posting to the excellent Oriental Bird Club Listserver last week invited ornithologists to download papers from Chinese Birds, said to be the only ornithological journal in the People’s Republic of China.

Several of the papers in this volume, published in English, focus on the status and conservation in China of three species of crane (Red-crowned Grus japonensis, White-naped G. vipio and Hooded G. monacha). These papers are therefore highly relevant to conservation efforts for these same globally-threatened species in the ROK.  For example, one paper (by Luo et al.) details research on human-caused disturbance to Hooded Cranes at a key stopover site.

The authors found that:

Human-caused disturbances not only frequently interrupt the feeding process of the cranes, but also lead to an increase of 200% in the duration of their vigilance and a significant increase in flying time”.

Here in the ROK, the main staging area of Hooded Crane was in the Nakdong River at Gumi. In the past three years, construction of parks and bicycle trails for the Four Rivers project has degraded riverine habitat and increased the potential for disturbance massively – both where the cranes used to stage and also along hundreds of km of the nation’s four biggest rivers.  The Hooded Crane also over-winters in the ROK, with birds apparently moving between two main sites, Suncheon Bay and the Seosan Reclamation Area. Both of these sites also suffer from high levels of human-caused disturbance.  And at Seosan such disturbance is likely to worsen in the near-future, as the dirt roads along the reclamation lake are upgraded, increasing both traffic and the number of visitors to the area.

It is clear that research into disturbance– not only of cranes, but of many waterbirds and nesting landbirds – is required urgently in the ROK. It is clear too that the results of such research then need to influence decisions on road-building and other infrastructure projects in the nation’s remaining avian biodiversity hotspots.

With sincere thanks to the researchers and the publishers of Chinese Birds for making this information so easily accessible to the wider conservation community through download from:

For archived information on the Four Rivers project, please see:

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