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The Critical Sites Network (CSN) Tool (Photo of the Dalmation Pelican: Tichomir Steffanov)
  

The Critical Sites Network (CSN) Tool

The CSN Tool will be a central information portal, integrating current knowledge on migratory waterbirds along the African-Eurasian flyway. This new web-based application will support the identification and conservation of the network of sites used by waterbirds to complete their annual migrations across Africa and Eurasia.  It will integrate flyway-scale conservation efforts and foster international cooperation among a wide range of government and non-government organizations towards flyway level conservation of migratory waterbirds.

The CSN Tool will foster international cooperation among a wide range of government and non-government organizations towards flyway level conservation of migratory waterbirds.


What can the CSN Tool do for you?

This application will benefit everyone dealing with waterbirds and with wetlands management. At the flyway-scale, it will show the key sites for any waterbird population in the AEWA region. At the site level, it will help site managers to identify the significance of their site in the flyway context for each waterbird species their area hosts. In addition, the system will illustrate site boundaries, changes in population size over time and practical ecological requirements to help site management.  The Critical Site Network Tool will also assist in the development of International Single Species Action Plans, systematic identification of wetlands to be protected under the Ramsar convention, site managers and environmental impact assessment practitioners.

In sum, the CSN Tool will allow conservation managers and policy makers at the local, national and international level to:

• Identify the key sites used by a specific population of waterbirds along their entire migration route
• Understand the importance of a specific site for a specific population, or group of waterbird species
• Verify the conservation status of a specific site
• Illustrate the boundaries of a specific site
• Show how population numbers are changing over time at a specific site
• Show the importance of a site from a flyway-scale perspective
• Provide practical information on the ecological requirements of waterbirds to help site management

Target users

The CSN Tool is aimed at conservation practitioners, decision-makers and planners at local, national and international level. It will help national authorities across the African-Eurasian region identify what critical sites fall into their national jurisdiction and highlight the importance of individual sites in a flyways context. The tool will assist international waterbird conservation efforts by providing the information needed to better protect waterbird species across their entire migratory range. It will help all stakeholders involved in the transboundary conservation of waterbirds to target their efforts to fulfil their obligations under relevant international treaties including i.e. the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, the Convention on Migratory Species and the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement and the EU Birds Directive.

How does it work?

The CSN Tool Development Team at the first planning meeting in Cambridge (2006)The CSN Tool will bring together information held in the three main databases used for international waterbird and wetland conservation. It will make this currently dispersed data available in a central, open and searchable Web-based interface. The tool is being developed by the World Conservation and Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) in collaboration with Wetlands International and BirdLife International. The CSN Tool will provide comprehensive site and flyway scale information for over 300 migratory waterbird species, including all the 236 species covered by the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (UNEP/AEWA).

The CSN Tool will also combine information from key existing datasets on migratory waterbirds and their critical habitats, including:

The World Database on Protected Areas (UNEP-WCMC)

International Waterbird Census Database

The World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA) provides the most comprehensive dataset on protected areas worldwide and is managed by UNEP-WCMC in partnership with the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) and the World Database on Protected Areas Consortium. The WDPA is a fully relational database containing information on the status, environment and management of individual protected areas. 



International Waterbird Census Database

International Waterbird Census DatabaseThe IWC Database includes over 25,000 sites and contains the most complete waterbird count data available in the African-Eurasian region. The IWC is an annual census of waterbirds in more than 100 countries and takes place in mid-January each year. Close to 15,000 voluntary expert observers count between 30 million and 40 million waterbirds using a standardized method involving the collection, checking, and importing of national and regional waterbird census data. The international census is coordinated by Wetlands International – one of the leading global NGOs dedicated to the conservation and wise use of wetlands. 

 

World Bird Database

World Bird Database Through its Important Bird Areas Programme BirdLife International has identified, using standard numeric criteria compatible with the requirements of the Ramsar Convention, the key areas for the conservation of threatened, endemic and congregative species across the region. Information on the population size of species which triggers the classification of the site as an Important Bird Area is stored in the World Bird Database together with information on threats and conservation measures.

 

Ramsar Sites Information Service (RSIS)

Ramsar Sites Information Service (RSIS) The Ramsar Sites Information Service provides data on wetlands designated as internationally
important under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, generally called Ramsar sites. The information included in the database derives from the Ramsar Information Sheet, the Ramsar National Report and/or from Administrative Authority correspondence provided by Contracting Parties. This includes information on wetland types, land uses, threats, hydrological values of the sites etc.

 

CSN Tool Preview (The WOW portal data displayed using the ArcGIS Explorer):

The Critical Sites Network (CSN) Tool

The above screen shots illustrate a first working draft of one possible way of accessing the WOW portal data using the free software ArcGIS Explorer. This will basically work by streaming the live data from the WOW - CSN web mapping servers (developed by UNEP-WCMC) to the CSN software installed on a local machine. 

The red dots you see on the screen are the IBA (Important Bird Areas) sites as they are in the Birdlife database.  These will be linked to the species data.  The CSN portal will also use the web mapping services directly online as a 2D view through the web browser.

When will the tool be available?

The Critical Site Network Tool is currently under development and will be launched in 2010. However, a demonstration version with limited data will be released in 2008 to collect feed-back on functionality from future users. 

Further information:

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The above screen shots illustrate a first working draft of one possible way of accessing the WOW portal data using the free software ArcGIS Explorer. This will basically work by streaming the live data from the WOW - CSN web mapping servers (developed by UNEP-WCMC) to the CSN software installed on a local machine. 

The red dots you see on the screen are the IBA (Important Bird Areas) sites as they are in the Birdlife database.  These will be linked to the species data.  The CSN portal will also use the web mapping services directly online as a 2D view through the web browser.

Further information:

CSN Demo Map
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