Last month, a new directory of Important Bird Areas in the Americas was launched in Washington D.C., USA. The directory, coordinated by the Americas Secretariat of BirdLife International, is the result of a joint effort between all countries in the Western Hemisphere. Over 100 authors took part in the 40 country or overseas territory chapters. The book also includes spectacular images from more than 250 photographers. The directory provides a concise summary of 2345 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in the hemisphere, priority sites for biodiversity conservation, covering an area of 3,284,602 km2, or 7.9% of the region’s area. An extensive analysis section includes case studies of how IBAs complement other conservation initiatives, protect wider biodiversity and are important for local communities, among many other topics.
BirdLife’s Important Bird Area Program is a global initiative focused on the identification, documentation and conservation of a global network of critical sites for bird and other biodiversity. IBAs are identified at national level with locally compiled information, using internationally standardized scientific criteria. Currently, more than 10,000 IBAs exist around the world.
The IBA program in the Americas started in 1995 with the aim of supporting national conservation strategies and protected area programs by identifying priority areas for conservation; identifying the most urgent actions to be implemented in each, providing goals for civil society conservation initiatives and promoting the implementation of regional and international environmental agreements.
The Americas is one of the most important regions for bird conservation, given that it holds almost 40% of the world’s threatened species (11% of the region’s birds are threatened). Principal threats come from agriculture, unsustainable use of natural resources (e.g. logging and hunting) and invasive species.
The complete directory is available for download at the Americas BirdLife web site here.
Photo: Murray Cooper