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The Cranes

Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan

Building Integrated Crane and Crane Habitat Conservation Programs

JPG-Scientists examine wetlands in Mekong R. Delta

Cranes present excellent opportunities to build programs that combine various conservation goals, activities, and techniques. As well known birds that serve as “umbrella” and “flagship” species in many ecosystems around the world, they are able to draw attention to, and provide protection for, a broad array of other species as well as the ecological functions that maintain ecosystem health. They exemplify the need to consider biodiversity at all levels—genetic, population, species, community, and ecosystem—in designing and implementing conservation programs. They also provide a focus for actions that address local development and conservation needs in an integrated fashion.

Sections 2 and 3 provide many recommendations for priority conservation actions. These recommendations have been developed on the premise that specific actions should be undertaken in a well coordinated and mutually reinforcing manner. Many tools are available to promote the protection, recovery, and perpetuation of the world’s cranes, from establishment of protected areas and captive propagation programs to habitat restoration and sustainable development projects. Choosing which tools to use, in which combinations, is the key to success (Soulé 1991).

Fortunately, crane conservationists have over the last several decades gained a great deal of experience and expertise in integrating conservation programs. Many examples can be found in the species accounts in Section 2. Several basic guiding principles can be derived from this experience.

These are only a few of the basic considerations that should be borne in mind in undertaking the measures recommended in the following sections. The cranes, along with much of the world’s biodiversity, will face difficult circumstances in the coming decades. Although their survival—or, in some cases, recovery—cannot be assured, there are steps that can be taken to enhance their chances. But these steps will only be effective if those who are most concerned about and involved in crane conservation coordinate their efforts well.
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