OMPO / European Institute for the Management of Wild Birds and their Habitats, is an international non-governmental scientific organization whose objectives are to study and contribute to the knowledge of migratory Palearctic birds throughout their range in Eurasia-Africa while ensuring opportunities for their management and sustainable use.

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OMPO, European Institute for the Management of Wild Birds and their Habitats which object is the development and dissemination of scientific knowledge on Palearctic birds, determinedly works at the conservation and sustainable management of biodiversity. Other structures have similar targets: BirdLife at global scale (and its connections), Wetlands International (for waterbirds mainly). The scientific position of OMPO should be clear and provide added value compared to other institutions.


In recent years, OMPO has forged strong and trustful relationships with many scientific institutions and organisations involved in nature conservation and management, from Russia to West Africa. These links were a key advantage in designing OMPO as a "distributed structure" regionally established with units such as OMPO-Vilnius, partner laboratories and scientists.


Among wild birds, migratory species should be the prime beneficiaries of OMPO's investment because management of these species must be considered at the scale of the migratory flyways. The meaning of "migratory" must be close to the definition adopted by the CMS (Bonn Convention) and AEWA, namely: any population shared by two or more States.


Among all species involved in the migration phenomenon, it is proposed to focus on two categories: endangered species and huntable species.


This choice is justified by two complementary objectives: to participate actively in the fight against the erosion of biodiversity and to perpetuate sustainable hunting, with, as a consequence, the mobilization of all efforts to safeguard the natural environment.


In order to avoid a rather too specific approach, it is also important to develop an ecosystemic approach i.e. the study and conservation of the territories in order to better understand the management of natural or modified environments beyond the narrow prism of an approach that prioritises individual species.


The fact is that, apart from wetlands, which are well characterized, it is difficult to mobilize the interest of social actors in habitat conservation without flagship species as mediators. This is the case in rural areas where the interest of the agrosystems for the conservation of species such as grassland waders, larks and thrushes is not better established than the one for more complex units such as mosaic forests-pastures for the survival of the Woodcock.


If OMPO favours an international approach (regional in the Anglo-Saxon meaning), it goes without saying that this approach is only interesting if it is taken into account in conservation strategies of countries that adopt and adapt laws and regulations, in compliance with international conventions.


Besides the geographical (the Palearctic) and the specific (threatened or hunted birds) scopes, the principles on which are based management recommendations should be clarified.

These principles, derived directly from those set forth by the Ramsar Convention on wise use of wetland resources, by AEWA on sustainable management of bird populations and by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), aim at a fair sharing of resources. OMPO advocates active management of natural resources and, to use a henceforth classic wording, promotes adaptive management, that is to say, based on the understanding the mechanisms that regulate populations. Anticipation is the keystone to such management.


To do so, this scientific approach is conducted at three levels:


  • First, a basic assessment: what numbers, what trends, where, in what kind of environment, when, are some of the questions to which we must respond. The available data reveal notable shortcomings. This approach requires on the one hand, the development of monitoring networks on flyways and various sites/key areas of the distribution range, on the other hand, more detailed surveys on the species (ringing/marking, satellite tracking, remote sensing...) and their use of habitats. These networks present a double advantage: Besides mobilizing large numbers of volunteers favouring the appropriation and dissemination of knowledge by the practice of citizen’s science (people’s science), they provide a collection of calibrated data facilitating syntheses and hence, integration into nature management.


  • Second, understanding of the mechanisms ruling the distribution of the species, their occupation of space and their dynamics in order to better understand key factors that govern the conservation status of a population. This level relies on rigorous research protocols and on data collected by these networks. In this regard, different management practices constitute in natura experimentations, the comparison of which leads to scientific questionings.


  • Third, prediction and modelling to evaluate the effects of management practices or the effects of changes be they local (change in land use) or global (invasive species or climate change, in particular).


These three levels are scientifically increasingly complex but often decreasingly expensive, considering that the combined cost of coordinating monitoring networks and the actual costs of data collection generally exceed statistical data processing costs.


Modelling performed from studies can then be confronted to field observations and permit extrapolation beneficial to the conservation of species and their habitats, particularly in the context of EU Action Plans.


The Institute OMPO will carry out its own field studies, will encourage studies that contribute in its objectives, will develop partnerships and prepare review reports from the analysis of data and literature.