Illegal hunting, habitat loss, and climate change are major threats to migratory waterbirds worldwide. Conservation interventions to prevent populations declines are necessary, especially in tropical developing countries, often immersed in shortages of funding and human resources for conservation. In this talk, I will show a very positive example in Brazilian Amazonia where local communities are effectively protecting migratory waterbirds that breed on seasonal riverine beaches through the protection of nesting sites of Amazonian turtles from the Podocnemis genus. We modeled local population responses of four migratory waterbird species on 155 beaches along a ~1,600-km section of a major tributary of the Amazon, as a function of community enforcement, official protection status, human pressure, and landscape features. In general, 21 community-protected beaches within the study area host more than 80% of all sampled birds. Black Skimmers has the most dramatic response, with breeding numbers 135-fold larger in community-protected beaches compared to unprotected sites. Large-Billed and Yellow-Billed Terns showed the same pattern. For the Near Threatened Orinoco Goose, formally protected areas were still the best conservation tool. We demonstrate the value of community-based conservation to protect breeding populations of migratory waterbird species, even the main target being the freshwater turtles. This is a highly effective and low-cost conservation strategy that can be replicated in many other regions of Amazonia.
Community-based conservation, protected Areas, Community-based management, participatory conservation, conservation success