Identification 1.8: Potential IBAs
In the past, some sites have been identified as ‘potential’ IBAs. This may be because they are thought likely to qualify under one or more of the IBA criteria, but data are lacking. Or it may be that they contain populations of particular bird species that do not currently qualify the site as an IBA, but are thought likely to do so once their status has been brought up to date. For instance, a site might hold a congregatory species whose biogeographic population estimate is being revised downwards, or a currently near-threatened species whose threat status is being revised upwards.
Changes to the lists of IBA trigger species inevitably lag some way behind advances in knowledge. For this reason there has sometimes been pressure to add such ‘potential’ sites to the IBA lists. With the continuous update process now proposed, supported by the web-enabled WBDB, such delays should be less problematic than before. Where appropriate for conservation purposes, potential IBAs may be listed in published national directories, with their provisional status being clearly flagged. However, they cannot be added to the definitive list held in the WBDB until they have clearly met the IBA criteria.