International Crane Foundation

 

Building Knowledge for Policy and Action

The International Crane Foundation employs sound science as a foundation for conservation policy and action. We engage on issues by identifying future problems and complex relationships and working to resolve them pro-actively.

  • At China’s Poyang Lake, our research helps national decision-makers understand the importance of natural water level fluctuations for Siberian Cranes, many other wetland-dependent species, and for human needs such as transportation, water quality, and fisheries. By linking the ebb and flow of water with the productivity of aquatic plants that cranes feed on, our research helped quantify the catastrophic impacts that would result from constructing a dam that would raise and stabilize waters at Poyang. We applied these results to develop an “ecosystems approach” to managing Poyang for the long-term benefit of wildlife and local people. This work has challenged plans for a proposed dam across the lake’s outlet, and given the International Crane Foundation a place at the table for future deliberations.
  • In India, our research uncovered the significant biodiversity value of the densely settled agricultural regions of the northern Ganges plain, and identified factors that favor or threaten the functioning of this patchwork of farm fields and small wetlands. We found that ancient farming practices that use minimal mechanization, coupled with a reverence for cranes, allow the world’s highest density of Sarus Cranes and over 300 species of other birds to coexist amongst intensive farming. We are using this knowledge to assist village councils and governmental agencies in strengthening land use policies and practices that will sustain this balance in the rapidly-growing region.
  • Even where crane populations are strong and growing, there are still conservation challenges. Sandhill cranes in the Midwestern U.S. have recovered from a few hundred birds to more than 60,000 individuals, but as Sandhills increase in density and spread across the landscape, their impact on croplands has intensified. Our research has led to a new deterrent, resulting in a win-win solution for cranes and the farmers whose lands allowed the Sandhills to recover.