Changes in bird populations in the UK’s Special Protection Areas: a third decadal ‘health check’

The UK’s Special Protection Area (SPA) network was established over 30 years ago in an effort to conserve British bird species. SPAs cover a variety of habitats and may be selected for the presence of a particular rare species, or for the diversity and abundance of birds. David Stroud and Ian Bainbridge assess how successful the network has been in achieving its aims, and highlight the importance of the UK’s SPAs for protecting our bird populations.

The UK’s most important bird sites are protected as Special Protection Areas (SPAs) through the EU Birds Directive. A third review across this network of sites has assessed changes in bird populations, highlighting their critical importance for bird conservation.

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