In cooperation with the Mexican National Commission for the Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity Information (CONABIO) and Cornell Lab of Ornithology, RMBO began in 2002 applying the Partners in Flight species assessment process to the Mexican avifauna. This project was the culmination of several years of discussions about improving international cooperation to increase, better prioritize and coordinate resources for bird conservation.
Over three years, RMBO helped lead and facilitate three national and four regional workshops involving more than 100 Mexican biologists to systematically evaluate the biological vulnerability of each Mexican bird species at regional and continental scales.
These data have been used to develop the first of many products to come from this work: The PIF Tri-national Vision: Saving our Shared Birds. It is also expected that CONABIO will publish the all-bird assessment for Mexico. Through building a strong biological foundation, we hope to increase recognition and resources for shared conservation responsibilities throughout the continent. The Mexican Species Avian Assessment Database can be accessed at avesmx.conabio.gob.mx.
In March, 2014 Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory coordinated a landmark meeting in San Vito, Costa Rica, to determine the conservation status of the birds of Central America.
At the meeting, 30 participants representing the seven Central American countries, Mexico and the U.S. assessed all 407 bird species unique to Central America, as well as 500-plus species shared between Mexico and Central America. This included landbirds, shorebirds, waterbirds and waterfowl.
During the assessment, birds were assigned scores for three factors (threats to breeding, threats to non-breeding and population trend) using the Partners In Flight species assessment process. Scores ranged from 1 (low vulnerability) to 5 (high vulnerability) for each factor, with a higher overall score indicating a greater vulnerability to population decline or extinction.
Next steps include completing the assessment using the other three PIF vulnerability factors (breeding distribution, non-breeding distribution and population size), and developing communication tools and messages to engage stakeholders in conserving at-risk species.
Thank you to all of the partners who attended the meeting and Environment Canada, Missouri Department of Conservation and USGS for funding.
The next species assessment workshop is scheduled for March 22nd - 28th, 2015 in Panama.
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