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The IBA Protection Index tracks trends in the protection of key areas for biodiversity

Parque Nacional Machalilla y alrededores IBA, Ecuador, © Des Callaghan

The Important Bird Area (IBA) Protection Index helps to track trends in the designation of protected areas that are important for biodiversity. A draft IBA Protection Index based on preliminary data shows that the mean percentage IBA area that is protected has increased from close to zero in 1900 to 38.4% in 2007. 


A preliminary IBA protection index 1900–2008

n = 4,235 IBAs in 77 countries. Analysis of data held in BirdLife’s World Bird Database (2008).

An indicator of the trends over time in the percentage of land and sea area covered by protected areas has been widely adopted as a measure of response to the accelerating loss of biodiversity. However, many protected areas have been designated in polar or desert regions or at very high altitudes. Some of these areas are less significant for biodiversity. Hence it is important that the global protected area indicator is complemented by an indicator showing trends over time in the degree to which priority sites for biodiversity conservation are covered by protected areas. Important Bird Areas (IBAs) provide a core set of such areas, and hence an IBA Protection Index helps to track trends in the designation of protected areas that are important for biodiversity.

A draft IBA Protection Index based on preliminary data for 4,235 IBAs in 77 countries shows that the mean percentage IBA area that is protected has increased from close to zero in 1900 to 38.4% in 2007. The rate of increase appears to have levelled off since the late 1990s, but this may partly be an artefact of delays in information flow. Work is ongoing to finalise the presentation of the index and the data it is based upon.



Related Case Studies in other sections

Compiled 2008

Recommended Citation:
BirdLife International (2008) The IBA Protection Index tracks trends in the protection of key areas for biodiversity. Presented as part of the BirdLife State of the world's birds website. Available from: http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/sowb/casestudy/243. Checked: 28/07/2014