Scenarios for Protecting European Avian Redistributions (SPEAR)

International frameworks for biodiversity conservation highlight the importance of adapting current conservation strategies to create an integrated network of protected areas that will be resilient for protecting biodiversity under different scenarios of climate and land-use change. 

The project will provide new knowledge on: 

  1. use of large-scale spatial planning to identify priority areas for conservation and gaps in networks of protected areas as well as improve their resilience to future threats and pressures
  2. adapting protected area management to facilitate responses to climate change, including sustainable harvest of quarry species
  3. provide guidelines to how to upscale biodiversity gains from local conservation interventions to maximize multifunctionality of ecosystem services from wetlands under different governance.

We will use the most comprehensive pan European datasets on landbirds, waterbirds, and seabirds to address these three key topics. 

Specifically, we will carry out a conservation prioritisation exercise to highlight gaps in the international network of protected areas and suggest scenarios that would meet the international targets of protecting 30% of land and sea, and would be more resilient to future threats and pressures. 

We will also gain a better understanding of the rationale behind climate change adaptation management plans in protected areas, assess the cost-effectiveness of implementation, and ensure sustainable harvest of hunted species of waterbirds. 

Last, we will investigate biodiversity responses to environmental characteristics and management in natural and created wetlands, including the potential benefits of wetland conservation interventions at a landscape scale if effects of local interventions are extended to surrounding wetlands. 

Our project activities will address the three thematic priorities of the 2021-22 Biodiversa+ call and are relevant to targets of multiple international conservation agreements (UN post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, EU Global Biodiversity Strategy). 

Most European countries are also Contracting Parties to international treaties such as the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA). 

Our project will contribute to guiding the implementation of both treaties and their Strategic Plans. Our consortium includes 7 research institutions and 8 subcontracted partners whose diverse expertise will ensure effective knowledge transfer, excellence in scientific outcomes, rapid dissemination of the project results, and productive stakeholder engagement to ensure implementation of project results for protection of biodiversity and ecosystems across land and sea.


Diego Pavòn-Jòrdan
Researcher, NINA

Brett K. Sandercock
Senior Research Scientist, NINA

Project info

Project title: Scenarios for Protecting European Avian Redistributions (SPEAR)

Funding: Biodiversa+ 
Supporting the protection of biodiversity and ecosystems across land and sea

Budget: € 1,600,000 

Project period: 2023-2025

Project coordinator:

Project partners:  

  • Finnish Museum of Natural History 
  • University of Turku 
  • Aarhus University 
  • Centre de Recerca Ecològica i Aplicacions Forestals 
  • The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences 
  • Swiss Ornithological Institute 
  • University of St. Andrews 
  • Wetlands International
  • United Nations Environment Program / Secretariat of the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (UNEP/AEWA)
  • United Nations Environment Program / Convention of Migratory Species Secretariat (UNEP/CMS)
  • United Nations Environment Programme/Convention on Migratory Species/African-Eurasian Migratory Landbirds Action Plan Working Group (UNEP/AEMLAP)
  • BirdLife Europe
  • Eurosite - the European Land Conservation Network
  • Danish Hunters' Association