Use of outputs generated by Pan-European Common Bird Monitoring Scheme

Delivering the data which can be used for policy purposes as well as for research is the goal of the Pan-European Common Bird Monitoring Scheme. While by providing the data to policy and decision makers we aim the policies and decisions are based on scientifically sound evidence, by using the data for research purposes we aim to improve our understanding of bird population changes and their driving forces.

Here we bring an overview of use of PECBMS results for policy purposes, for public awareness and for a research as well. Despite the PECBMS keeps records of each use of the results, it is out of our control to keep records of all uses based on data extraction from the web site. Thus, the overview of the use of PECBMS results presented here is likely to be underestimated.

Use for policy purposes & public awareness

The multispecies population indices (indicators) produced by PECBMS have been the main outputs used for various policy purposes. Our European common bird indicators are included among the Streamlining European Biodiversity Indicators (SEBI), EU common bird indicators are part of the Indicators of Sustainable Development of the EU and European farmland bird indicator has been accepted as biodiversity indicator for EU´s Structural Indicator. National versions of the Farmland bird indicators have been also approved as the indicators for a Regulation in EU´s Rural Development Plans (Council Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005).

The indicators produced by PECBMS have been used by other international institutions too, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), European Environment Agency (EEA) link, Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity or European Court of Auditors among others. The indicators have been also included in Living Planet Index (LPI).

The graph below shows number of cases, when data were provided by PECBMS coordination unit for policy or public awareness purposes from 2005 to 2015. For example, in 2014 we provided the latest European Farmland bird indicator to the EEA for the fact sheet to IRENA indicators or to the BirdLife International for their press release on CAP reform, or European index for individual species for various papers or publications. Since many users extract data from the web site without informing the PECBMS coordination unit, the figures are probably underestimated. Last year PECBMS contributed latest EU indicators to the first European Red List of Birds, which was published in June 2015.

Development of bird indicators by PECBMS has also triggered development and use of such indicators at national level. Overview of the national indicators with links to national web sites can be found on

Use for research purposes

PECBMS seeks to analyse, interpret and publish its results in order to contribute to better understanding of population changes of birds in Europe. Papers resulting from PECBMS activities are usually led or co-authored by members of the wider team (Steering and Technical group, PECBMS coordination unit, EBCC Board), or the data have been used by other scientists who use the data publicly available.

Rules for using PECBMS data
PECBMS is happy to see the data have been used by external scientists for research purposes or for other publications, however we recommend always to contact the PECBMS coordination unit in advance in order to avoid misinterpretation of data presented on the web site. Moreover, we recommend to read the rules of using the PECBMS outputs which are stated in our Data Access And Co-authorship Policy.

For more information, contact project coordinator Petr Voříšek on

List of scientific papers using the PECBMS results (last update 3rd July 2017):

  • Both, C., Van Turnhout, C.A.M., Bijlsma, R.G., Siepel, H., Van Strien, A.J. and Foppen, R.P.B. (2010): Avian population consequences of climate change are most severe for long-distance migrants in seasonal habitats. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 277: 1259-1266 (DOI:10.1098/rspb.2009.1525). PDF
  • Butchart, S.H.M., Walpole, M., Collen, B., van Strien, A., Scharlemann, J.P.W., Almond, R.E.A., Baillie, J.E.M., Bomhard, B., Brown, C., Bruno, J., Carpenter, K.E., Carr, G.M., Chanson, J., Chenery, A.M., Csirke, J., Davidson, N.C., Dentener, F., Foster, M., Galli, A., Galloway, J.N., Genovesi P., Gregory, R.D., Hockings, M., Kapos, V., Lamarque, J.-F., Leverington, F., Loh, J., McGeoch, M.A., McRae, L., Minasyan, A., Hernández Morcillo, M., Oldfield, T.E.E., Pauly, D., Quader, S. Revenga, C., Sauer, J.R., Skolnik, B., Spear, D., Stanwell-Smith, D., Stuart, S.N., Symes, A., Tierney, M., Tyrrell, T.D., Vié, J.-C., Watson, R. (2010). Global Biodiversity: Indicators of Recent Declines. Science 328 (5982): 1164-1168 (DOI: 10.1126/science.1187512). PDF + Supporting Online Material
  • Butler, S.J., Boccaccio, L., Gregory, R.D., Vorisek, P., Norris, K. (2010): Quantifying the impact of land-use change to European farmland bird populations. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 137 (2010) 348-357. PDF
  • Collen, B., Loh, J., Whitmee, S., McRae, L., Amin, R., Baillie, J.E.M. (2009): Monitoring Change in Vertebrate Abundance: the Living Planet Index. Conservation Biology 23 (2): 317-327. PDF
  • Gamero, A. et al. (2017): Tracking Progress Toward EU Biodiversity Strategy Targets: EU Policy Effects in Preserving its Common Farmland Birds. Conservation Letters, doi:10.1111/conl.12292. PDF
  • Gregory R.D., van Strien A.J., Vorisek P., Gmelig Meyling A.W., Noble D.G., Foppen R.P.B. et Gibbons D.W. (2005): Developing indicators for European birds. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 360: 269-288. PDF
  • Gregory, R.D., van Strien, A. (2010): Wild bird indicators: using composite population trends of birds as measures of environmental health. Ornithological Science 9 (1): 3-22. PDF
  • Gregory, R.D., Vorisek, P., Van Strien, A., Gmelig Meyling, A.W., Jiguet, F., Fornasari, L., Reif, J. , Chylarecki, P., Burfield, I.J. (2007): Population trends of widespread woodland birds in Europe. Ibis 149 (Suppl. 2): 78-97. PDF
  • Gregory, R.D., Vorisek, P., Noble, D.G., Van Strien, A., Klvanova, A., Eaton, M., Meyling A.W.G., Joys, A., Foppen, R.P.B., Burfield, I.J. (2008): The generation and use of bird population indicators in Europe. Bird Conservation International 18: S223-S244 (DOI: 10.1017/S0959270908000312). PDF
  • Gregory R.D., Willis S.G., Jiguet F., Voříšek P., Klvaňová A., van Strien, A., Huntley, B., Collingham, Y.C., Couvet, D., Green, R.E. (2009) An Indicator of the Impact of Climatic Change on European Bird Populations. PLoS ONE 4(3): e4678 (DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0004678). PDF
  • Inger, R., Gregory, R., Duffy, J.P., Stott, I., Voříšek, P. Gaston, K.J. (2015): Common European birds are declining rapidly while less abundant species´ numbers are rising. Ecology Letters 18 (1): 28-36. PDF
  • Ivits, E., Buchanan, G., Olsvig-Whittaker, L., Cherlet, M. (2011): European Farmland Bird Distribution Explained by Remotely Sensed Phenological Indices. Environmental Modeling and Assessment 16 (4): 385-399 (DOI: 10.1007/s10666-011-9251-9). PDF
  • Jiguet, F., Gregory, R.D., Devictor, V., Green, R.E, Voříšek, P., Van Strien, A. and Couvet, D. (2009): Population trends of European common birds are predicted by characteristics of their climatic niche. Global Change Biology 16(2): 497-505 (DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2009.01963.x). PDF
  • Jørgensen, P. S., Böhning-Gaese, K., Thorup, K., Tøttrup, A. P., Chylarecki, P., Jiguet, F., Lehikoinen, A., Noble, D. G., Reif, J., Schmid, H., van Turnhout, C., Burfield, I. J., Foppen, R., Voříšek, P., van Strien, A., Gregory, R. D., Rahbek, C. (2015): Continent-scale global change attribution in European birds – combining annual and decadal time scales. Global Change Biology 22 (2): 530-543(DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13097). PDF
  • Klvaňová, A., Voříšek, P., Gregory, R.D., van Strien, A., Gmelig Meyling, A. (2009): Wild birds as indicators in Europe: latest results from the Pan-European Common Bird Monitoring Scheme (PECBMS). Avocetta 33: 7-12. PDF
  • Møller, A.P. (2008): Flight distance and population trends in European breeding birds. Behavioral Ecology 19 (6): 1095-1102 (DOI: 10.1093/beheco/arn103). PDF
  • Mace, G.M., Collen, B., Fuller, R.A. and Boakes, E.H. (2010): Population and geographic range dynamics: implications for conservation planning. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B (2010) 365: 3743-3751 (DOI:10.1098/rstb.2010.0264). PDF
  • Norman, D., Peach, W. J. (2013): Density-dependent survival and recruitment in a long-distance Palaearctic migrant, the Sand Martin Riparia riparia. Ibis 155: 284-296. PDF
  • Pe´er, G., Dicks, L.V., Visconti, P., Arlettaz, R., Báldi, A., Benton, T.G., Collins, S., Dieterich, M., Gregory, R.D., Hartig, F., Henle, K., Hobson, P.R., Kleijn, D., Neumann, R.K., Robijns, T., Schmidt, J.A., Schwartz, A., Sutherland, W.J., Turbé, A., Wulf, F. and Scott, A.V. (2014): EU agricultural reform fails on biodiversity. Science 344:1090-1092. more info
  • Popy, S., Bordignon, L. and Prodon, R. (2010): A weak upward elevational shift in the distributions of breeding birds in the Italian Alps. Journal of Biogeography 37: 57-67.
  • Scholefield, P., Firbank, L., Butler, S., Norris, K., Jones, L.M., Petit, S. (2011): Modelling the European Farmland Bird Indicator in response to forecast land-use change in Europe. Ecological Indicators 11 (1): 46-51. PDF
  • Stephens, P.A., Mason, L.R., Green, R.E., Gregory, R.D., Sauer, J.R., Alison, J., Aunins, A., Brotons, L., Butchart, S.H.M., Campedelli, T., Chodkiewicz, T., Chylarecki, P., Crowe, O., Elts, J., Escandell, V., Foppen, R.P.B., Heldbjerg, H., Herrando, S., Husby, M., Jiguet, F., Lehikoinen, A., Lindström, A., Noble, D.G., Paquet,J.Y., Reif,J., Sattler, T., Szép,T., Teufelbauer, N., Trautmann, S., van Strien, A.J., van Turnhout, C.A.M., Vorisek, P., Willis, S.G. (2016): Consistent response of bird populations to climate change on two continents. Science Vol. 352, Issue: 6281, pages 84 – 87. link to the paper
  • Vickery, J. A., Ewing, S. R., Smith, K. W., Pain, D. J., Bairlein, F., Škorpilová, J. & Gregory, R. D. (2014): The decline of Afro-Palaearctic migrants and an assessment of potential causes. Ibis 156: 1-22. PDF
  • Vorisek, P., Gregory, R.D., Van Strien, A.J. & Gmelig Meyling, A. (2008): Population trends of 48 common terrestrial bird species in Europe: results from the Pan-European Common Bird Monitoring Scheme. Revista catalana d’ornitologia 24: 4-14. PDF
  • Voříšek, P., Jiguet, F., van Strien, A., Škorpilová, J., Klvaňová, A. & Gregory, R.D. (2010): Trends in abundance and biomass of widespread European farmland birds: how much have we lost? BOU Proceedings – Lowland Farmland Birds III. PDF
  • Wade, A.S.I., Barov, B., Burfield, I.J., Gregory, R.D., Norris, K., Butler, S.J. (2013): Quantifying the Detrimental Impacts of Land-Use and Management Change on European Forest Bird Populations. PLoS ONE 8 (5): e64552. (DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0064552). PDF
  • Wade A.S.I., Barov B., Burfield I.J., Gregory R.D., Norris K., Vorisek, P., Wu, T., Butler, S.J. (2014): A Niche-Based Framework to Assess Current Monitoring of European Forest Birds and Guide Indicator Species’ Selection. PLoS ONE 9(5): e97217. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0097217. PDF