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Improved version of the Critical Site Network Tool now available


Ede, 7 January 2011 - The further development of one of the WOW Project’s main products - the ‘Critical Site Network (CSN)’ Tool – has not stopped after the launch of a consultation version of the tool at the 15th Anniversary Symposium of AEWA in June 2010. In December 2010, a new version was released which has not only corrected some bugs, but also sports some exciting new features.

The CSN Tool provides comprehensive information on 294 waterbird species from 2,972 sites. The searchable web-based tool brings together information found in the World Bird Database, the International Waterbird Census and Waterbird Population Estimates databases, the World Database on Protected Areas and the Ramsar Site Information System.

It has been designed to help site managers assess the international importance of waterbird populations at their site and to help access information on the ecological requirements of the species present at their site in internationally significant numbers. It can also be used by national governments or other national and international organizations to identify gaps in protection within the flyway site network and in understanding the patterns of changes to waterbird populations.

New features added to the CSN Tool:

One of the most important new features now included in the December 2010 release of the tool are the report functions, which enable the user to query the species and critical site data using a wide range of species and site attributes such as taxonomy; IUCN Red List and legal protection of species and sites as well as habitat requirements and threats.

In addition, special reports are now available to support countries in implementing international environment treaties such as AEWA and the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. For example, a new feature recently introduced to the CSN Tool allows users to produce a list of waterbird populations for a given country which helps them apply the correct measures to the appropriate populations. Also, the population list for a point (i.e. the central coordinate of a site) is a useful tool to assist the application of the 1% threshold in particular for the selection of Wetlands of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, but this function is also relevant for identifying Special Protection Areas under the EU Birds Directive or Areas of Special Conservation Interest under the Bern Convention's Emerald Network.

The CSN Tool now makes accessible not only count data from the International Waterbird Census as time series for individual sites, but also as maps for individual years, which is good news for anyone interested in understanding the distribution changes of wintering waterbird populations.

Furthermore, most of the data brought together by the CSN Tool can now be printed and exported after users have accepted the relevant data access policies, while a comprehensive manual has been developed to guide potential users and ensure the most effective use of the CSN Tool.

Although the WOW project officially came to an end on 31 December 2010, the CSN Tool will keep improving. French, Russian and Arabic versions will be available soon and new, exciting analytical functions will be added in the first half of 2011. If you want to test these new features, please visit:

Interviews with the CSN Tool's Development Team

Below you will find a selection of interviews conducted with members of the CSN Tool Development Team during the 15th Anniversary of AEWA Symposium on 14 June 2010  in The Hague, the Netherlands.

Dr. Szabolcs Nagy, Head of Programme and Strategy Biodiversity and Ecological Networks, Wetlands International
Dr. Vicky Jones, Global Flyways Officer, BirdLife International
Mr. Andrew Cottam, Senior Informatics Officer, UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP/WCMC)
Dr. Lincoln Fishpool, Global Important Bird Area Coordinator, BirdLife International


Critical Site Network (CSN) Tool Powerpoint Presentation

Presentation of the Wings Over Wetlands (WOW) Project Critical Site Network (CSN) Tool at the 15th Anniversary of AEWA Symposium on 14 June 2010  in The Hague, the Netherlands. The original presentation is available as a slidecast split into three parts below:

The Critical Site Network (CSN) Tool:

To access the CSN Tool please click here or use the following direct link:

Further Information

Or contact the CSN Tool Development Team: Szabolcs NagyVicky Jones and Andrew Cottam.




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