Portugal country programme
As part of our ongoing support for BirdLife International, we are supporting SPEA, the Portuguese BirdLife Partner, to become a stronger, more effective and self-sustaining organisation.
- Build a strong and effective BirdLife Partner organisation in Portugal, by exchanging knowledge on developing and managing the operations of an organisation, such as strategic planning, project development and delivery, financial management, as well as growing and maintaining membership services
- Identify, protect and manage Important Bird Areas in Portugal
- Save globally threatened species from extinction, including the Azores Bullfinch and the Desertas Petrel
- Monitor the population trends of common and rare breeding birds and the bird populations in IBAs in order to identify threats at an early stage and then act to address them
- Lobby for the protection of rare and common bird species alike in the wider countryside, by influencing rural development, agriculture and forestry policies at a national level
- Promote bird and nature conservation among the Portuguese society and build public support for SPEA
- SPEA has grown to become an efficient, professional nature conservation organisation with more than 20 full-time staff and an impressive portfolio of conservation projects and public outreach work. It is the leading bird conservation organisation in Portugal.
- SPEA has recruited 1,200 paid-up members, and has a campaign underway to significantly increase its number of members in the next few years.
- SPEA has identified and is monitoring 93 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in Portugal. Thanks to pressure by SPEA and the European Commission, many these are already protected as Special Protection Areas (SPAs). SPEA is developing a comprehensive network of dedicated site caretakers for these IBAs, and is actively working at selected high priority sites to secure their effective management and long-term protection.
- SPEA is running campaigns which are fighting to save the most threatened sites from damage or destruction, such as the Salgados (Pera marsh) IBA.
- SPEA is running comprehensive conservation programmes for the globally threatened Azores bullfinch (Europe’s rarest songbird) and the Desertas petrel, an endemic species recently identified as being distinct from Fea’s petrel.
- With 50-100 volunteers in each case, SPEA monitors common breeding birds, maintains national IBA monitoring, collects data on bird deaths caused by electricity lines, completes an annual migration watch, a Christmas bird count, and in the Azorean islands has recently started an annual buzzard count.
- SPEA is the leading European BirdLife International partner in the research and identification of coastal and marine IBAs that will protect important feeding areas for pelagic seabirds.
- SPEA maintains one of the largest marine databases of Europe, and plans to use it not only for seabird conservation and marine protection, but also to implement management plans around islands and in busy coastal areas.
- SPEA is lobbying the relevant authorities on national policies that can have a negative impact on birds and biodiversity, such as wind farms, rural development and agro-environmental schemes.
- SPEA advises airport authorities on actions to reduce the risk of ‘bird strikes’ at airports.
- SPEA is running a series of programmes to introduce several thousand people every year to birds and nature conservation. In the Azores, SPEA has also opened recently its first information centre.
- SPEA is implementing projects to develop and promote birdwatching and nature-based tourism in Portugal, and publishes the only national birdwatching magazine.