The Americas Important Bird Area (IBA) directory was launched at separate events in Bolivia and Costa Rica by BirdLife partners and collaborators. In Costa Rica, the launch took place on 28 July 2010 at the inaugural ceremony of the II Costa Rican Ornithological Conference, organised by the Unión de Ornitólogos de Costa Rica (UOCR) and the Escuela de Biología de la Universidad de Costa Rica, with a speech by Luis Sandoval of the UOCR. Julio Sánchez, president of this ornithologists’ group, explained that “the book was donated to libraries of universities, government institutions and NGOs in order to make it accessible to scientists, conservationists and students. There was also great interest from the general public with regard to acquiring the directory”.
Important Bird Areas (IBAs)
Twenty-one IBAs have been identified in Costa Rica, covering over 3 million ha, or 52% of the country’s land area. The Costa Rica chapter of the directory provides a concise summary of these sites, including a section on the current opportunities for developing this site conservation initiative in the country. For Luis Sandoval, one of the authors of the Costa Rica chapter, “the IBA directory represents the results of a joint conservation effort by biologists and birdwatchers in the Americas”, adding that “we hope that the book will serve as a obligatory reference point in the development of conservation policies and projects in Costa Rica”.
The directory contains introductory analysis sections on how IBAs interact with many other conservation initiatives, such as conservation hotspots and sites within the Alliance for Zero Extinction. This section also sets out how IBAs can be used to comply with different international environmental agreements, such as the Convention on Biological Diversity and Ramsar.
David Díaz, BirdLife’s IBA Conservation Officer for the Americas, adds, “IBAs are on the ground initiatives, where real conservation actions take place, but they also make up an international network of sites that can benefit from regionally coordinated efforts. And this is precisely what the directory has enabled us to do, present a hemispheric blueprint for biodiversity conservation to decision makers and institutions at regional level”.
Top photo by Luis Sandoval, Union de Ornitólogos de Costa Rica.