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International Action Plan for the Red-breasted Goose

The International Single Species Action Plan for the Conservation of the Red-breasted Goose (Branta ruficollis) was adopted at the 5th Meeting of the AEWA Parties in La Rochelle, France in May 2008. The goal of the action plan is to restore the Red-breasted Goose to a favorable conservation status within the AEWA Agreement area by stopping and reversing the current population decline. Relevant actions should be implemented in each range state. The SSAP aims to down-list the Red-list status of Red-breasted Goose from Endangered to Vulnerable within 10 years. Countries are encouraged to develop national work plans for the Red-breasted Goose, or to transpose these actions into existing plans and legislation. Implementation will require the collaborative efforts of national and regional authorities and competent statutory bodies, and a range of key stakeholders. Principal among these are national and international non-governmental conservation organisations, farming associations, hunting, game management and fishing organisations, site management committees, and academics.

The majority of actions address the key threats. In addition, actions are identified to ensure that species monitoring is undertaken to inform implementation of the action plan: in particular, so that any deterioration in the species’ status is detected, and the effect of implementing the action plan can be assessed; and so that key demographic parameters (survival and productivity) are monitored to help understand how threats are operating upon the population. Because populations are highly concentrated at individual sites, an international network of protected areas is essential for the conservation of the species, and a further series of actions are identified to ensure that this network functions effectively.

The Action Plan sets out the following results through which these goals are to be achieved:

  • Sufficient feeding opportunity available in staging and wintering areas;
  • The impact of development in the wintering and staging areas minimised through strategic planning;
  • Detrimental development in breeding grounds minimised;
  • Risk of poisoning by rodenticides significantly reduced;
  • Direct and indirect mortality from hunting significantly reduced;
  • A site network of protected areas functioning effectively.

For each result the action plan sets out specific indicators, means of verification, priority and timescale in addition to specific activities needed to achieve the desired results.

Some actions are not specific to geographical areas. For example, generic analyses (eg modelling the risk of collision with wind turbines) are not country specific. Similarly, the development of many guidelines (eg best-practice for EIAs and schemes to minimise conflict with agriculture) will be largely similar for all countries, albeit that adaption to national legislative frameworks may be required. Such actions can therefore be developed initially by one country on behalf of all range states, to share efforts and costs, and to speed delivery of the action plan by enabling several actions to be developed at the same time. Range states are encouraged to cooperate through the Red-breasted Goose International Working Group (RbGIWG) to agree how implementation can be shared in such cases.

The objectives and actions listed below should be incorporated into the national work plans of each range state in which they apply. Range states are, however, encouraged, through the  AEWA International Working Group, to develop and share best practice and imaginative ideas to implement actions. Range states are also encouraged to develop collaborative cross-border projects for implementation, as these are likely to be more effective than implementing actions in isolation.

The Action Plan is to be updated every 10 years with the next update planned for 2020. The updating process will be lead by the International Working Group. The overall coordination of the international implementation of the Action Plan is being led by the Red-breasted Goose Coordinator currently based at the BSPB/BirdLife Bulgaria.


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