Project launched to identify conservation targets within one million km2 of Eastern Africa

By Venancia.Ndoo, Tue, 05/10/2010 - 16:32
BirdLife International and the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) have recently launched a new initiative to prepare a conservation and investment strategy for mountain ranges across eastern Africa, from Saudi Arabia and Yemen in the north to Zimbabwe in the south. Collectively termed the Eastern Afromontane Biodiversity Hotspot, the region covers a total area of more than one million km¬≤ across sixteen countries and is made up of three ancient massifs: the Eastern Arc Mountains and Southern Rift, the Albertine Rift, and the Ethiopian Highlands. “The Eastern Afromontane Biodiversity Hotspot is incredibly important for wildlife and people”, said Julius Arinaitwe – BirdLife’s Director for Africa. “It’s very species-rich, with around 7,600 plants, 1,300 birds, 500 mammals, 350 reptiles, 230 amphibians 890 fishes recorded so far. Many of these can be found nowhere else on earth. The hotspot also provides vital ecosystem services for millions of people’’. Despite the huge biological and socio-economic value of the hotspot, about 15 percent is currently under any level of protection, and only 10 percent of the original vegetation remains in pristine condition.

The hotspot covers mountain ranges across eastern Africa, from Saudi Arabia and Yemen in the north to Zimbabwe in the south.

“The primary threat is habitat loss, due to conversion of land for agriculture, plantations and commercial estates, as well as logging”, said Julius. Other threats include fires, mining, development of infrastructure, gathering of firewood, and collection of plants for medicinal use, while hunting and disease have led to major declines in the populations of many species. The Albertine Rift has some of the highest human population densities on the African continent, with up to 750 people per km¬≤ in parts of Rwanda and Uganda. Consequently, much of the land was long ago converted to agriculture and pressures on the remaining lands are enormous. To launch the new initiative, a series of workshops and national consultations are planned. The recent inception workshop held in Cambridge (UK) will soon be followed by another meeting in Nairobi, Kenya. The profile will define the ‘Conservation Outcomes’ which aims to identify the entire set of conservation targets in a hotspot that need to be achieved in order to prevent species extinctions and biodiversity loss. “The biodiversity profile will be a rapid assessment of biological priorities and the underlying causes of biodiversity loss in the hotspot”, added Pierre Carret - Grant Director for CEPF. “It will focus in particular on the socio-economic, policy and climate change dimensions to the hotspot and will set out clearly the priorities for future CEPF investment”. Preparation of the Ecosystem Profile will be undertaken on behalf of CEPF by BirdLife International and Conservation International building on similar approaches for the Mediterranean and Caribbean hotspots completed in 2010. BirdLife International is the lead organisation responsible for overall coordination and preparation of the profile, as well as delivery of the final product and expects to work alongside all interested stakeholders including 11 national BirdLife Partners during the project. The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund – a joint initiative of l’Agence Française de Développement (AFD), Conservation International (CI), the World Bank, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the Government of Japan – provides grants for nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and private sector partners to help protect the Earth’s biologically richest and most endangered regions. Image credit: alvise forcellini / Flickr

Africa

Comments

My name is Herivola .I want to work with birdlife , for protecting bird .What do I do Sir ?
Nick Askew's picture

Hello Herivola. Thank you for asking about how you can help BirdLife. There are many ways to help, from joining our Rare Bird Cub, or World Bird Clubs, to joining your local BirdLife Partner. The best starting point is to follow this link: http://www.birdlife.org/donate/index.html Best wishes, Nick

this is a good work keep it up. I am also working in a biodiversity hot spot in Nigeria the Oban sector of Cross River National Park, not much work have been done in this area,BirdLife Africa is highly needed in this area. how can I contact your Office in Nigeria? thanks Emmanuel Ikyaagba
Nick Askew's picture

You can find out more about NCF (our BirdLife Partner in Nigeria) here: http://www.birdlife.org/worldwide/national/nigeria/index.html

This is great, I am attached to Kenya Young Greens which focuses its work on biodiversity and climate change. I would be grateful to learn about how you are going to implement this project in Kenya. So that we can follow it and assist should need be.
Nick Askew's picture

Hi Philip. We'll be publishing news as the project progresses. Best, Nick

Hello, My name is Victor and I would like to work with Birdlife here in East Africa. I have just finished my degree and would like to further my career. Where can I start?

I am a kenya voluntarily working for TREIN (Tree Enrichment Initaiative to plant more indigenious trees in schools around Kakamega Tropical Rain forest so that the pressure on this resource can be reduced and we would like to be connected with this project as we are in conservation of our threatened biodiversity.Other activities in our programme are to enhance environmental conservation education to the public as well as HIV and Aids awareness campaigns. Caleb Ihaji Analo

Im currently a member of nature Kenya in Kenya that deals with conservation work but i have little knowledge but i m interested in learning more i.e getting a degree in ornithology can i get sponsorship or a scholarship somewhere in ornithology?im just a high school lever with a diploma

Dear Nick et al, There are currently nine endemic bird species found in the montane xeric areas of northern Somalia (Somaliland), it would be great to see the project include this neglected part of Africa. In addition to the endemics listed below, northern Somalia could hold previously unknown colonies of several species and there may be even be important migratory stopovers there. Native trees in the region are currently suffering from heavy cutting for firewood. In as much as I admire BirdLife's work, I feel they have turned a blind eye to this part and soon nine more species might be added to the list of extinct birds. Columba oliviae Somali Pigeon Turdus ludoviciae Somali Thrush Heteromirafra archeri Archer's Lark Carduelis johannis Warsangli Linnet Alaemon hamertoni Lesser Hoopoe-Lark Mirafra somalica Somali Lark Hakim Abdi

Dear Nick et al, There are currently nine endemic bird species found in the montane xeric areas of northern Somalia (Somaliland), it would be great to see this initiative include this neglected part of Africa. In addition to the endemics listed below, northern Somalia could hold previously unknown colonies of several species and there may be even be important migratory stopovers there. Native trees in the region are currently suffering from heavy cutting for firewood. In as much as I admire Birdlife's work, I feel they have turned a blind eye to this part and soon nine more species might be added to the list of extinct birds. Columba oliviae Somali Pigeon Turdus ludoviciae Somali Thrush Heteromirafra archeri Archer's Lark Carduelis johannis Warsangli Linnet Alaemon hamertoni Lesser Hoopoe-Lark Mirafra somalica Somali Lark Hakim Abdi

I am a second year conservation boilogy student in UK.Next year I want to go for replacement some where in east Africa.Can you find me a place in this project with special interst in high lands of Ethiopia

Thats interesting.....would love to see the mentioned birds.

Je suis directeur de l'ONG -ARCEHir :Association de Recherches des Conservations et d'Encadrement des Hirondelles Rustiques en République Démocratique du Congo ,ASBL , C'est une Organisation Non Gouvernementale , qui a pour but conserver et protégés toutes les zones d'importances pour la protection des oiseaux extinction et améliorer les contions de vies des populations paysannes et les communautés qui pratiquent la chasse afin de les impliquées dans l'ONG ARCEHir , sensibiliser les enfants aux respects des oiseaux et de la natures , préserver toutes la biodiversité pour nos enfants et la génération futures . Mais les photos sont disponibles, nous sommes a la recherche des voies et moyens pour len projets de la conservation , protection et sensibilisation des des enfants et du plus grand nombres du publique au respect de oiseaux et de la natures . Nous sommes en attente avec tout intéré de collaborer avec vous et travaillez en sembles .

Go and see the distribution of these jewels of the Africa forests. A few nice photos of African birds at http://tromsofoto.net Keep up the work for the East-african birdlife!! Stein, Norway

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