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Birdwatching more locally (1 Viewer)

dantheman

Bah humbug
Your argument of righteously showing the way has a major flaw: nobody but birders cares what birders do or don't.


If ecotoursists don't come, many tropical reserves will be lost within years, long before climate change becomes visible.

I written in another thread, that it would be possible to count how many species depend from ecotourism for their existence: all African megafauna for example. This loss will be catastrophic.
I think there are a couple of different arguments here - and conflating/confusing the issues possibly? (EDIT: The article linked in post #1 wasn't really about global birding, or ecotourism etc)

I've never been to the tropics, or to a place where my money will have specifically helped sustain/preserve a natural area. A lot of trips by birders won't necessarily be in this category either. It has been said earlier on this thread that it should be down more to government etc but, yes the reality is probably the only way that these places can be saved is through direct market forces, ie ecotourists?

Fair enough having the moral high ground isn't really going to stop climate change. But that shouldn't stop people following their own conscience at times.

(There is also an argument of 'sod it all, it's all going down the pan anyway, enjoy it before it's all lost forever'!)
 
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Lerxst

Well-known member
Your argument of righteously showing the way has a major flaw: nobody but birders cares what birders do or don't.
Spot on.

Myself: > 95% of my birding involves me walking to a local hotspot because I don't drive because I am legally blind. The other <5% involves getting on a plane to go off and bird elsewhere, and support eco-tourism and local guides in the process.
 
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Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
I seldom twitch, but that is mostly because I hate driving, especially by myself. Not that I am not tempted. There is an Ivory Gull I would seriously consider twitching except it would have to be an over-night trip, and I am already going to be leaving town for a vacation/birding trip next week for a little over a week. I just don't see much of an appeal for driving multiple hours to see a bird which I could probably see dozens of in their normal range, especially a species that wouldn't be a lifer.

I like county birding, and generally restrict most of my birding to areas a short distance away, although requiring a car (Seriously, vast swathes of my home country are not amenable to public transit birding, nor are good birding spots always a walk/bike ride away). I personally find it more rewarding and less stressful than an hour spent birding and 5 hours in a car.

To be honest, I think birder driven ecotourism is not nearly as effective as people ascribe. Birders tend to visit the same specific spots for the most part, which means you get well protected areas separated by vast swathes of territory with little or no protection. Great in theory, but we are already seeing climate change impact habitats, and the more isolated reserves are the less likely critters can shift distributions. I'd say it's really only effective in a small number of countries whose entire economies are almost driven by tourism interests, such as certain regions of Africa or places like Costa Rica.

I like traveling to see birds, especially lifers. But I do that out of my own sense of enjoyment, not with the intended goal of supporting ecotourism, even if my visit does so. And I would like to think my not having children or doing much twitching compensates. But honestly, it's just my own personal interests and preferences driving it, not a conscious decision to be more green.
 

cajanuma

Well-known member
Italy
To be honest, I think birder driven ecotourism is not nearly as effective as people ascribe. Birders tend to visit the same specific spots for the most part, which means you get well protected areas separated by vast swathes of territory with little or no protection. Great in theory, but we are already seeing climate change impact habitats, and the more isolated reserves are the less likely critters can shift distributions. I'd say it's really only effective in a small number of countries whose entire economies are almost driven by tourism interests, such as certain regions of Africa or places like Costa Rica.
Of course climate change has an enormous impact on habitats, but if all birding-related travel ended tomorrow, the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions would be essentially nil. On the other hand, the end of birding-related tourism would have a major impact on habitat protection in areas with nature reserves that depend on tourism income. The network of ProAves reserves in Colombia is one such example, and numerous threatened bird species essentially occur only on those reserves.

What's really missing from this discussion is an honest reckoning of the costs and benefits of birding-related travel, and the extent to which improved habitat and species protection directly related to travel offsets or outweighs the increase in carbon emissions.

Another thing that's missing from the discussion is the perspective of scientists, conservationists, ornithologists, ecotourism operators, and local communities in biodiversity-rich countries that are destinations for birding tourists. This perspective is missing entirely here on Birdforum, but is seems to me that it is also being glossed over in the broader discussion as well.
 

Xenospiza

Distracted
Supporter
What's really missing from this discussion is an honest reckoning of the costs and benefits of birding-related travel, and the extent to which improved habitat and species protection directly related to travel offsets or outweighs the increase in carbon emissions.
You are right there. I am weary of people just pointing at climate change as the only threat to wildlife (agriculture and other habitat destruction are arguably worse).
For local birding I really cannot defend that driving around for my yearlist is doing anything positive for nature (but it may do for my own mental health, given the depauperate agricultural fields I have to cope with).
 

Himalaya

Well-known member
On the contrary there are already many areas in which the world is conspicuously over-exploited. The general scientific consensus is that we are currently using planetary resources (and if you don't see something uniquely anthropocentric and repulsive in that phrase I do) at a rate of about one and a half sustainable planets.

Think about that. We are already consuming half as much again in general as is supportable. That leads to an inevitable conclusion that there are already half as many again people as can be supported, and we are currently seeing the wants of less developed (e.g. most of Africa) and institutionally backward (e.g. China) countries accelerating per capita let alone as a result of population growth.

Much as I dislike the use and abuse of grouse moors, they aren't covered in wheat, aren't having peat extracted and don't have housing estates on them.

What we need is a lot fewer people, and we need it fast. Luckily the currently over-platformed epidemiologists are already whimpering about the next pandemic and with any luck it will do a proper job. The way people are crowded together in cities gives hope that, just as rodent populations boom and bust due to disease when overcrowded, human populations will follow the same way.

In the meantime we've got to get away from the idea that reproduction - which is managed by unicellular amoebae without fuss - is either clever, desirable or something to celebrate.

John


I won't lie and say I wish the population of Britain is right. Given the choice between having packs of Wolves here and 30 million people I would choose the Wolves. I would love to see more wild areas in the world but I wouldn't wish a pandemic to cull humans - not saying you are wishing that by the way. A plague of some sort could wipe out you, me and most of this forum if not all.

I mentioned Grouse Moors because it was an easy example of vast tracts of land owned by a few and enjoyed by a few. Golf courses are another example.
 

dantheman

Bah humbug
Since the main subject is local birding, just a heads up for the green listing thread on here if people hadn't come across it yet -


I would love to get wolf on my local patch list (don't really see that happening anytime soon mind ;-) )
 

Xenospiza

Distracted
Supporter
I would love to get wolf on my local patch list (don't really see that happening anytime soon mind ;-) )
There is a wolf regularly eating sheep on my former patch in the Netherlands and another one taking advantage of bad fences just 10 miles from where I live now. I live in hope!
 

dantheman

Bah humbug
There is a wolf regularly eating sheep on my former patch in the Netherlands and another one taking advantage of bad fences just 10 miles from where I live now. I live in hope!
They're getting closer then! I saw one in Lithuania back when ... although I guess the channel tunnel would be a barrier too far. Good luck! ;-)
 

Jon.Bryant

Well-known member
There was an interesting article in Asian Bird Journal on the impacts of the Covid travel restrictions on conservation - not particularly great reading, as the impacts were largely negative.

Another point on air travel is to think about at what point does lack of travel disrupt markets and subsequently bring about environmental benefit? If all birders gave up air travel would this impact airlines enough for flight cancellations to result? If not then the only difference between me flying on a birding trip or not is whether the planes has one less empty seat. My global footprint would be less, but aviations impact on global warming would be unchanged - not much really to crow about. Unless business travel and general tourism can be reduced, reduction in ecotourism will not disrupt the market and bring any benefit. I don’t think Michael O’Leary is currently having restless nights because birders may stop travelling and could set an example to others.

With regard to car travel, I am all for driving less, but also consuming less. Unlike air travel anything I do has immediate impact. If I don’t drive the car, the car doesn’t make the journey regardless, so the fuel is saved.

Since the petrol shortage started, I have increased my mpg by 20% by driving to save fuel and not trying to keep up with others, who mainly seem to model themselves on Lewis Hamilton. I am thinking about getting a bumper sticker made up ‘Driving like I care for the planet’

I would also argue that we should be cutting out as many short trips as possible, which are in any case less efficient and more damaging to the environment. All those short trips to walk the dog, go down the corner shop, drive to the gym, or pick up the kids from school etc. rack up. Another bumper sticker required ‘Environmentalist’s car - short trips prohibited’.

Perhaps these are messages we could disseminate more widely - saying we are reducing our car travel for birding, sounds rather more niche, than saying we are generally cutting out short trips and driving to conserve fuel.
 

Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
On a related note, how do folks think ecotravel will fair with inflation kicking into gear plus whatever disruptions (economic and travel) that may result from the Ukraine conflict? Are travel costs going to start pricing more people out of birding outside of their country?
 

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