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New German Bird Monitoring

Germany follows BTO example by founding a Bird Monitoring Trust

Although the need for a standardised and coordinated bird monitoring system in Germany has been recognized for years, not least in order to meet the requirements of the European Birds and Habitats Directives and the RAMSAR Convention, it has until now been organised on a `Land` (provincial) level with consequent problems of standardisation and coordination on a federal basis. But times are changing?At Laender level the official structures are different, hunting and bird protection laws and ordinances can vary, and the links between governmental and quasi-governmental bodies and the voluntary ornithological societies, associations and birders in the field is not always smooth and far from standardised.In September 2002 the state of and perspectives for bird monitoring was discussed at a conference at Steckby, Saxony-Anhalt; it was no coincidence that one of the main speakers was Professor Jeremy Greenwood, Chairman of the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO). This conference agreed on the so-called Steckby principles:

- Nation-wide monitoring of birds is important and necessary.
- Legal responsibility, enthusiasm and public involvement: the diversity of motives is recognised.
- The federal government, states and associations must work together.
- The aims, methods and the efficiency of nation-wide coordinated bird monitoring should be brought into public focus.
- Methodical standards should be applied nation-wide and existing basic programmes should be integrated.
- The scientific quality and the long-term subsistence of bird monitoring in Germany should be guaranteed through the existence of an independent authority. Following the example of Britain and other countries it became clear that only a private and independent trust, freed from both Laender and federal restraints and disparity in priorities, could provide long term guarantees for the success of a coordinated, nation wide, bird monitoring scheme.The German Bird Monitoring Trust [Stiftung Vogelmonitoring Deutschland] officially came into being at a founding meeting in Chemnitz, Saxony, on Saturday the 16th of August 2003. Among the speakers at this event was the renowned producer of nature films Prof. Heinz Sielmann, Ms. Anette Doerpinghaus (German Institute for Nature Protection), Dr. H.-G. Bauer (German Advisory Board for Bird Protection), Prof. F. Bairlein (German Ornithological Society) as well as guests from The United Kingdom (Prof. J. Greenwood, BTO) and Switzerland (Niklaus Zbinden, Swiss Bird Observatory Sempach).The Trust, the aim of which is to promote bird monitoring activities in Germany, has 37 founding members including the ornithological societies of all the German Laender and many private persons and organisations.The establishment of this trust, which owes much to the influence to the British Trust for Ornithology; will do much in the long term to provide accurate and valuable information on bird populations and their habitats in Germany. This will be of general benefit to European bird species as Germany lies centrally in the European land mass and provides not only important breeding areas for European birds; but has many important resting and refuelling locations on migration routes.More information on the Trust, together with abstracts of the Steckby conference papers, can be found in English on the website at http://www.vogelmonitoring.de.
Submitted by: David Conlin - Proact

4th July 2014