Asia-Pacific Migratory Waterbird Conservation Strategy: 2001-2005

Asia-Pacific Migratory Waterbird Conservation Committee
Wetlands International - Asia Pacific, 2001
ISBN 983 9663 30 5

Section C: Action plan for the conservation of migratory cranes in the North East Asian Flyway: 2001-2005

A component of the Asia-Pacific Migratory Waterbird Conservation Strategy: 2001-2005.

Prepared by
Crane Working Group

Summary

The North East Asian Crane Site Network (henceforth the Crane Network) was established in 1997. In the first three years the Crane Network has organized workshops, symposia and training courses for improving site management and promoting public awareness on site conservation. The Crane Network has brought conservation organizations and personnel in North East Asia closer in regional conservation.

From 2001 to 2005, the Crane Network proposes 15 main actions that cover a vast area of network development, management, education, training, research, monitoring and information exchange among Crane Network sites in six North East Asian countries (Russian Federation, Mongolia, People's Republic of China, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Republic of Korea and Japan). The proposed budget to implement the Action Plan is about USD 900,000.

Foreword

North East Asia is the region of the highest diversity of cranes in the world. Seven species of cranes, for example, Hooded cranes, White-naped cranes and Red-crowned cranes are found in this region. Cranes have long been treasured as the symbol of longevity and happiness in North East Asia. Therefore, they can serve as a flagship species in wildlife conservation around this area. Most of these species however, are exposed to various threats such as habitat degradation and destruction, and the conservation of cranes is an urgent and serious matter.

The North East Asian Crane Site Network was launched in 1997, as one of the three migratory waterbird networks under the Asia-Pacific Migratory Waterbird Conservation Strategy: 1996-2000, which was adopted in 1996.

In the past three years, 18 sites in 6 countries joined this network. Workshops and symposia were organized, and a newsletter published. Through these activities, the network is functioning as the forum for concerned people and experts in the conservation of cranes and their habitats in North East Asia.

The second phase of the Migratory Waterbird Strategy will be implemented from 2001. Under this strategy, the Crane Network drafted a five-year Action Plan compiling 15 major actions. These include: the drafting of management plans at the Crane Network Sites, promotion of mutual exchange between Crane Network Sites, preparation of environment education guidelines, breeding surveys of White-naped crane and Red-crowned crane throughout North East Asia and development of an e-mail communication system to facilitate tracking of migratory movements of cranes.

These activities will enhance the conservation of cranes throughout North East Asia, and enable this unique international framework of the flyway network to grow further and strengthen.

It is crucial to reinforce the fundamental network activities in order to carry out the programs steadily, and achieve definite results. The Ministry of the Environment, Japan will continue to support the work of the flyway officer and implementation of the Action Plan.

Kojiro Mori
Director
Wildlife Protection Division
Nature Conservation Bureau
Ministry of the Environment, Japan

The North East Asian Crane Site Network was launched in 1997. It was a new concept in North East Asia, so we started carefully and slowly. After three years of practice we are more familiar with the needs in the region.

This Action Plan was drafted under the Asia-Pacific Migratory Waterbird Conservation Strategy: 2001-2005. It covers four major directions. The first is to develop and expand the Crane Network, both in number of Crane Network sites and the area covered under the Crane Network. At the Crane Network Working Group Meeting in February 2000, Dr. Yuri Darman, Chairman of the Russian Oriental Stork Working Group, proposed it would be economical and efficient to include the Oriental Stork under the Crane Network since personnel and sites for conservation of cranes and storks in North East Asia largely overlap. His proposal was approved by all Working Group members.

The other three directions focus on management and education, research and monitoring, and information exchange. Good management is vital to all sites, and education important to win the support of people for conservation. Therefore we propose training, education workshops and production of education materials as our priority for future activities. Research and monitoring are needed to give data for management planning, and information exchange and communication encourage the sharing of information and management experience among the Crane Network sites.

We hope in these five years we will be able to bring all important personnel and sites for crane conservation closer, and we will be working on a common goal of crane and habitat conservation.

I would like to thank the Ministry of the Environment, Japan and the Japan Fund for Global Environment for their support of the Crane Network activities in the early years. Without their support the Crane Network could not grow up and fledge. While I hope we will continue to receive their support, I hope more people and organisations inside or out of North East Asia will work with us and support us in implementation of the Action Plan.

I would also like to thank members of the Crane Working Group and people who work for conservation at each crane site. Without their effort conservation of the sites would not be possible.

Ten years ago, satellite tracking drew lines on maps to link up important sites of cranes, now we are in a process to turn these lines into bridges. This network of 'bridges' has partially finished, but we still need to work hard to build the rest of our Network. I hope, in another ten years time, we will see busy traffic on these 'bridges'.

Please join us in the conservation of cranes and their habitat. We cannot work well without your involvement.

Noritaka Ichida
Chairman
Crane Working Group Wetlands International - Asia Pacific

Acknowledgements

The North East Asian Crane Site Network was launched on 7 March 1997, after a preparation period of about two years. The Ministry of the Environment, Japan has been supporting the Crane Network from the earliest stage. After the launch the Crane Network has also received warm support from the State Committee for Environmental Protection of the Russian Federation, the Ministry of Nature and the Environment of Mongolia, the State Forestry Administration of the People's Republic of China, the Nature Conservation Center of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the Forestry Administration and the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Korea. Their support and guidance is essential for the success of crane conservation in North East Asia.

The International Crane Foundation and other national crane research groups and experts have provided advice and assistance to the formation of the Crane Network. We are particularly grateful to the Amur Chapter of the Socio-ecological Union (Russian Federation), the Muraviovka Park for Sustainable Land Use (Russian Federation) and the National Institute of Environmental Research (Republic of Korea) for arranging the first two Working Group meetings. Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux (BirdLife partner in France) assisted in raising funds to organize education workshops. Activities of the Crane Network have been generously funded by the Ministry of the Environment, Japan, the Japan Fund For Global Environment, Japan Trust for Global Environment, Ministry of Environment (Republic of Korea), City Government of Suncheon (Republic of Korea), the Société des Eaux Minérales d'Evian of the Danone Corporate Group (France) and the French Global Environment Facility.

1. Background

The Asia-Pacific region has the biggest diversity of crane species in the world. Ten of the fifteen existing crane species are found here, of which six species are regarded as globally threatened.

North East Asia is the region with the highest number of threatened species of cranes. As cranes are highly respected culturally in the region they serve as ideal flagship species for wetland conservation. These factors make North East Asia the most appropriate region to launch a network for conservation of cranes.

The North East Asian Crane Network (henceforth the Crane Network) originated from a series of regional crane research and conservation activities since the early 1990s. Satellite tracking of cranes led by the Wild Bird Society of Japan and many organisations and researchers revealed migratory routes and important sites for crane conservation. The idea of forming a network of important sites for cranes was raised and discussed at the symposium The Future of Cranes and Wetlands held in Japan in June 1993.

In December 1994, the 'Kushiro Initiative' was produced as a result of an international workshop on migratory waterbird conservation held in Kushiro, Japan. It calls for the:

  • Preparation of a conservation strategy for migratory waterbirds in the region.
  • Development of Action Plans for species-groups.
  • Development of networks of internationally important sites for species-groups.

The Kushiro Workshop was organized under the auspices of the Environment Agency of Japan (now Ministry of the Environment, Japan) and the Australian Nature Conservation Agency (now Environment Australia) with assistance from the Asian Wetland Bureau (now Wetlands International - Asia Pacific) and the International Waterfowl and Wetlands Research Bureau - Japan Committee (now Wetlands International - Japan). Since the Kushiro Workshop the governments of Australia and Japan have been strong supporters of the Strategy and Networks, and the Wetlands International has been responsible for establishment and management of the Strategy and Networks.

The Asia-Pacific Migratory Waterbird Conservation Strategy: 1996-2000 was published in 1996. An updated Strategy for 2001-2005 is published with this Action Plan.

Three species-group networks were established in 1996-2000: the East Asian-Australasian Shorebird Site Network (1996), the North East Asian Crane Site Network (1997), and the East Asian Anatidae Site Network (1999).

The Strategy Officer is based at the Wetlands International - Asia Pacific office. The three waterbird networks were established by Wetlands International, with the Wild Bird Society of Japan and the Japan Association for Wild Geese Protection supporting and managing the activities of the Crane and Anatidae networks.

The Asia-Pacific Migratory Waterbird Conservation Committee (MWCC) was established under the Council of the Wetlands International - Asia Pacific. It holds regular meetings to give approval on activities of the Strategy and networks. The MWCC is formed with representatives from government agencies, international non-governmental organizations, Wetland International Specialist Groups, a development assistance agency and bureaus of the Convention on Wetlands and the Convention on Migratory Species.

The Crane Network was launched in 1997. In 2000 there were 18 sites from all six range countries (Russian Federation, Mongolia, People's Republic of China, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Republic of Korea and Japan). The Working Group of the Crane Network was established in 1997 to give guidance to the activities of the Crane Network. It consists of national representatives from all six range countries, researchers and international crane experts. The Crane Flyway Officer implements the activities discussed and decided by the Crane Working Group.

From 1997 to 2000, the Crane Network organized workshops on research and management, symposia to promote public awareness on conservation, and training courses for improving site management. The Crane Network also published manuals for research and management, and newsletters for information exchange.

Looking into the next five years, the Crane Network will continue to improve communication among sites and people of North East Asia, and empower sites and organizations on crane conservation. About half of the proposed budget will be used on education, training and improvement of management of the Crane Network sites.

The Action Plan for the Conservation of Migratory Cranes in North East Asian Flyway: 2001-2005 does not aim to replace the IUCN Crane Action Plan (Meine & Archibald 1996), which is the most comprehensive reference on crane conservation to date. This new Action Plan is a compatible document aiming at the implementation of proposed activities under the Crane Network discussed by the Crane Working Group. The time frame of the Action Plan is from 2001 to 2005.

2. Mission statement and objectives

Mission statement:

To encourage international cooperation on conservation of cranes and wetlands and to ensure the long-term survival of all crane species and their habitats in the region through the establishment of a network of globally important sites for the conservation of cranes.

Objectives:

  • To preserve important breeding, staging and wintering habitats for crane species.
  • To encourage joint and coordinated management efforts between reserves on national borders.
  • To encourage joint and coordinated management efforts among protected areas, agencies and organizations along the Asia-Pacific flyways.
  • To promote exchange of information between different countries and agencies.
  • To maintain and share a database on crane information and reserve sites.
  • To carry out studies and research on the requirements relating to the survival of cranes.
  • To carry out studies on the sustainable use of wetlands in the region.
  • To promote the sustainable use of wetlands in the region. n To promote public awareness and education in the region, especially at the Network Sites.

3. Priority actions

3.1 Development of the crane network

From the Atlas of Key Sites for Cranes in the North East Asian Flyway published in 1999, there are at least 96 sites in North East Asia that have the potential to be listed as Crane Network sites. As of October 2000 there were only 18 sites in the Crane Network. This figure is only about one-fifths of the important sites in North East Asia. At the second meeting of the Crane Working Group, all members agreed the Crane Network should expand gradually and cover more sites. The target is to include at least 20 more sites in the Crane Network by the end of 2005.

At the same meeting the Crane Working Group members also agreed to expand the geographical scope of the Crane Network to cover sites important to the Black-necked Crane Grus nigricollis, and to include the conservation activities for the Oriental Stork Ciconia boyciana under the Crane Network.

Action 1

Obtain the nomination of at least 20 more Crane Network sites, preferably with at least one new site from each range country. Expand the geographic scope of the Crane Network to cover the range of Black-necked Cranes in China, and to cover the whole country of Mongolia.

Action 2

Expand the taxonomic scope of the Crane Network to cover the range of storks in North East Asia, particularly the Oriental Stork. The main justifications for including the storks are because of their threatened status and the extensive overlap of sites and personnel with the Crane Network.

Action 3

Conduct dedication ceremonies and present official certificate to the Crane Network sites.

Action 4

Promote the Crane Network in the region and within the countries by making TV documentaries, observance of an International Crane Day and arranging promotion activities in all range countries on that day.

Action 5

Ensure adequate planning and fundraising for the development of the Crane Network, and assist Crane Network sites to raise financial support to implement Crane Network activities. The work of implementation of the Crane Network activities is to be reviewed annually.

3.2 Management, training and education

Improvement of site management, education and work with local communities are the main goals of the activities of the Crane Network in this Action Plan. Training courses are needed to achieve these goals. About half of the resources of the Crane Network will be used on the following activities.

Action 6

Assist the Crane Network sites in producing effective results in their management activities. This process includes encouraging and assisting management bodies of Crane Network sites in drafting and implementing management plans, identifying and establishing models among the Crane Network sites to encourage other sites to learn from their management experience. Encourage and assist personnel exchange between Network Sites.

Action 7

Encourage and assist Crane Network site management bodies to establish local networks of cooperation with neighbouring communities, NGOs, academics etc. Sharing of experience in management methods at different sites is also encouraged. At least one cross visit between sites or one training course should be held each year to improve management techniques and promote communication.

Action 8

Draft guidelines and plans for education programs, ecotourism and sustainable use at the Crane Network sites. The education program should include outbound education to schools, factories, corporate and community halls, and on site education at visitor centers and in the field.

Action 9

Produce education and public awareness material (leaflets, posters, school materials, slide packs etc.) for the Crane Network.

3.3 Research and monitoring

Research and monitoring provide a scientific basis for the improvement of site management and conservation. The regular census gives trends of the populations and indicates possible changes in environmental factors.

Action 10

Study the feasibility to disperse over-concentrated crane populations. Action 11 Develop standardized methods for color banding, censusing and monitoring. Conduct annual winter and migration censuses. Produce reports and disseminate results widely.

Action 12

Undertake a survey of the breeding populations of White-naped Cranes Grus vipio, Red-crowned Cranes Grus japonensis and Oriental Stork Ciconia boyciana across the entire range in 2004.

3.4 Information Exchange

One of the main objectives of the Crane Network is sharing of information and experience among sites important for crane conservation. The following actions aim at improving communication among Crane Network sites and other conservation bodies.

Action 13

Collect and store information on mortality of wild cranes, including deaths caused by poisoning, disease and power lines. Develop a central database on populations of cranes in North East Asia. Information should be easily accessible by all crane researchers and other interested groups.

Action 14

Publish newsletters and regularly update the web site. Encourage and assist Network Sites to design their own web sites.

Action 15

Improve communication among Network sites. Develop e-mail linkages along the migratory routes to report migration of cranes. Ensure each Crane Network site has e-mail access by 2005 and at least one worker from each site can read and write simple English for communication with other sites.

4. Implementation

Implementation and funding of the Action Plan are to be discussed by the Crane Working Group in this region. Actions will be recommended to relevant government agencies, Crane Network site management bodies or organizations through the Crane Flyway Officer.

4.1 Key personnel and agencies

Crane Flyway Officer: Implementation of the Action Plan will be coordinated by a Crane Flyway Officer based at Wild Bird Society of Japan. The Officer will be responsible for the development of the Network, promoting appropriate management of Network sites and supporting research.

National Government Agencies: These agencies are responsible, at the national level, for endorsing nominations of sites to join the Network and providing funding for site management and research. It is anticipated that they will provide in-principle support and, where possible, funding for new activities associated with implementation of the Action Plan.

Site Management Bodies: These agencies are responsible for the day-to-day management of internationally important sites. Site management bodies need to have access to training opportunities, up to date knowledge and resources for appropriate site management.

Non-government Organisations: National and regional crane specialist groups exist in the Russian Federation, China, Republic of Korea and Japan. Many international and national organizations, in particular the International Crane Foundation and Wild Bird Society of Japan, are also involved in crane conservation in North East Asia. National NGO's involved in nature protection, bird and wetland conservation also will have a vital role in activities such as monitoring, research, public awareness and the exchange of information. All of these organisations are invited to be fully involved in implementation of the Action Plan.

4.2 Review and consultation mechanisms

Crane Working Group: A consultative committee has been formed consisting of nine members: national representative from the six range countries in North East Asia and three specialists from the breeding ground, the wintering ground and IUCN/SSC Crane Specialist Group. The Crane Working Group has developed this Action Plan and will monitor/review its implementation, assist to identify and secure resources, review the annual workplan of the Flyway Officer, provide advice and assistance to the Flyway Officer, promote the Action Plan and establish links with related activities. In principle it will meet at least annually and report to the Asia-Pacific Migratory Waterbird Conservation Committee.

Members of the crane working group (as of October 2000):

Chairman
Noritaka Ichida Representative from Japan

Vice-chairman
Wang Wei Representative from the People's Republic of China

Members
Vladimir Andronov Representative from Russian Federation
Natsagdorjiyn Tseveenmyadag Representative from Mongolia
Park U-il Representative from Democratic People's Republic of Korea
Kim Jin-han Representative from Republic of Korea
Nikolai Germogenov Breeding Ground Specialist
Qian Fawen Wintering Ground Specialist
James Harris IUCN Crane Specialist (Represented by the International Crane Foundation)

Asia-Pacific Migratory Waterbird Conservation Committee: The Committee has 16 members drawn from representatives of governments, the Ramsar Bureau, the UNEP/CMS Secretariat, a development assistance agency, international non-government organisations, three technical Working Groups and Wetlands International Specialist Groups. The Committee oversees the implementation of the Strategy and receives reports from the Working Groups. The Committee reports to the Council of Wetlands International - Asia Pacific.

Linkages to Major Regional and Global Initiatives: The Action Plan is a component of the Asia-Pacific Migratory Waterbird Conservation Strategy: 2001-2005. It links to a number of other initiatives, such as the MOU of Siberian Crane under the Convention on Migratory Species, the Convention on Wetlands Strategic Plan 1997-2002 and bilateral agreements for the conservation of migratory birds.

5. Resources implications

This Action Plan outlines a targeted program of activities for the 2001-2005 period. An indicative budget has been developed to emphasise the relative priorities of the different actions and to guide fundraising activities.

Table Indicative Budget for implementation of the Action Plan for the Conservation of Migratory Cranes in the North East Asian Flyway: 2001-2005

No.
Action
Sub-total (USD)
%
 
Development of the Crane Network
173,000
19
1
Expanding the geographical scope of the Crane Network and
obtaining nomination of new Crane Network sites
72,000
 
2
Expanding the Crane Network to cover the conservation of storks
in North East Asia, particularly the Oriental Stork Ciconia boyciana
7,000
 
3
Conducting dedication ceremonies and presenting official certificate
to the Crane Network sites
8,000
 
4
Promoting the Crane Network in the region
7,000
 
5
Planning, fundraising and reviewing the activities of the Crane Network
78,000
 
 
Management, training and education
401,000
45
6
Assisting management of Crane Network sites
63,000
 
7
Assisting exchange of information among Crane Network sites
73,000
 
8
Designing plans and training on education programmes, ecotourism
and sustainable use at the Crane Network sites
214,000
 
9
Producing education and public awareness material
51,000
 
 
Research and monitoring
215,000
24
10
Studying the feasibility to disperse over-concentrated crane populations
118,000
 
11
Standardizing research methods and conducting census and monitoring
17,000
 
12
Conducting breeding populations survey
80,000
 
  Information exchange
106,000
12
13
Developing a central database on populations of cranes in North East Asia
13,000
 
14
Publishing newsletters and updating web sites. Assisting Crane Network sites to design their own web sites
25,000
 
15
Improving communication among Crane Network sites Total (5 years)
68,000
 
  Total (5 years)
895,000
 

Further reading

BirdLife International. 2001. Threatened Birds of Asia: The BirdLife International/IUCN Red Data Book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

Chan, S. 1999. Atlas of Key Sites for Cranes in the North East Asian Flyway. Wetlands International - Japan, Tokyo, Japan, and Wetlands International - Asia Pacific, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 67pp.

Ellis, D. H., Gee, G. F. and Mirande, C. M. (eds.). 1996. Cranes: their biology, husbandry and conservation. U.S. Department of the Interior, National Biological Service, Washington, DC and International Crane Foundation, Baraboo, Wisconsin, USA. 308 pp. [on-line]. http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/resshow/gee/cranbook/cranebook.htm

Meine, C.D. and Archibald, G. W. (eds.). 1996. The Cranes: - Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland, and Cambridge, U.K. 294pp. [on-line]. http://www.npsc.nbs.gov/resource/distr/birds/cranes/cranes.htm

Smirenski, S.M., Harris, J. and Smirenski, E.M. (eds.). 2000. Crane Research Manual: North East Asian Crane Site Network. Muraviovka Park for Sustainable Land Use of the International Socio - ecological Union and Moscow Stats University, Moscow, Russia. 91pp.

Wang Qishan, Ma Yiqing and Xu Yangong. (eds.) 1997-2000. China Crane News: The Newsletter of Crane and Waterbird Specialists Group, China Ornithological Society. Volume 1 - 7. China Ornithological Society, Beijing, China.