The migratory bird treaty and a century of waterfowl conservation

Journal of Wildlife Management
By: , and 



In the final decades of the nineteenth century, concern was building about the status of migratory bird populations in North America. In this literature review, we describe how that concern led to a landmark conservation agreement in 1916, between the United States and Great Britain (on behalf of Canada) to conserve migratory birds shared by Canada and the United States. Drawing on published literature and our personal experience, we describe how subsequent enabling acts in both countries gave rise to efforts to better estimate population sizes and distributions, assess harvest rates and demographic impacts, design and fund landscape-level habitat conservation initiatives, and organize necessary political and regulatory processes. Executing these steps required large-scale thinking, unprecedented regional and international cooperation, ingenuity, and a commitment to scientific rigor and adaptive management. We applaud the conservation efforts begun 100 years ago with the Migratory Bird Treaty Convention. The agreement helped build the field of wildlife ecology and conservation in the twentieth century but only partially prepares us for the ecological and social challenges ahead. 

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title The migratory bird treaty and a century of waterfowl conservation
Series title Journal of Wildlife Management
DOI 10.1002/jwmg.21326
Volume 82
Year Published 2018
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Contributing office(s) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description 13 p.
First page 247
Last page 259
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