If the Dakatcha Woodlands were to be converted to maize production to fulfil national food security concerns or needs we would still have serious concerns. A key issue for us is the location of the proposed project, not only the nature of the proposed crop. Dakatcha Woodlands has been identified as an ‘Important Bird Area’ (IBA) as it is home to a number of globally threatened birds such as the southern banded snake eagle, Fischer’s turaco, Sokoke scops owl, Sokoke pipit and Clarke’s weaver. Clarke’s weaver is found in only two places on Earth: Dakatcha Woodland and Arabuko‐ Sokoke Forest to the south. Clarke’s weaver probably nests in Dakatcha Woodland, although its nest has never been found. This site is therefore of critical conservation value to Kenya and the world. Without Dakatcha Woodland, Clarke’s weaver would become extinct. BirdLife regularly campaigns to protect IBAs from inappropriate developments of many different kinds – including built development, mining and agricultural expansion. This is not to say we are anti-development but believe that development in IBAs should be sustainable and be planned with proper regard for the biodiversity value of the site. Hence unless we were convinced that a national food production project was justified in an IBA after a rigorous planning process eg after strategic consideration of a range of possible locations we would also oppose such a scheme.
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