Ugandan IBAs not just for birds
New research carried out by BirdLife and its Partners suggest that Important Bird Areas (IBAs) are an effective mechanism for conserving a wide range of biodiversity.
Although IBAs are selected entirely on bird-based criteria, conservationists have long argued that these sites are also signficant for the conservation for a large range of other important, often threatened, plants and animals. Until now this has been difficult to quantify, but a unique study by the Forest Department of Uganda has produced promising new evidence.
"The study clearly highlights the vital role that IBAs play in conserving the world's biodiversity. It's usually much easier to survey bird species than other types of wildlife – because they're generally better known and easier to identify. Now we have proof that IBAs are also of prime importance for other biodiversity, many time- and cost-saving benefits can be gained for conservation as a whole by embracing the IBA network." —Lincoln Fishpool, Global IBA Co-ordinator, BirdLife
The Forest Department of Uganda, has gathered comprehensive inventories of five taxa (birds, butterflies, large moths, small mammals and woody plants) for all of Uganda's 50 forest reserves. Independently, Nature Uganda (BirdLife in Uganda) identified 13 IBAs which were also forest reserves. These were found to contain a very high proportion of the total number of species of each of the five taxa – not just birds – recorded for the full set of fifty reserves, illustrating the role that IBAs can play in protecting many kinds of wildlife and plants.
Credits: Deborah J. Pain, Lincoln Fishpool, Achilles Byaruhanga, Julius Arinaitwe, Andrew Balmford
Biological Conservation Volume 125 (September 2005), pp.133-138