IBAs making a world of difference
BirdLife News Round-up: October 2009
BirdLife International’s Important Bird Area (IBA) programme is a worldwide initiative aimed at identifying and protecting a network of critical sites for the conservation of the world's birds. At present, around 11,000 sites in some 200 countries and territories have been identified as Important Bird Areas, and the list continued to grow last month…
To help prioritise action in a country where the sheer scale of the landscape has held back the identification of sites of high importance for biodiversity conservation, Birds Australia (BirdLife Partner) has published Australia’s Important Bird Areas (Australia's IBAs provide the first nationwide conservation blueprint). “In the 314 IBAs, we have a national network of globally significant sites for bird conservation, providing a focus for research and conservation efforts”, said Graeme Hamilton – CEO of Birds Australia.
IBAs aren’t just on land. BirdLife’s Marine IBA programme is making a vital contribution to current global initiatives to gain greater protection and sustainable management of the oceans, and following four years of intense work SPEA (BirdLife in Portugal) published the first Portuguese Inventory of Marine IBAs last month (The first Portuguese Marine IBA inventory published).
Outlining the truly global nature of IBAs, we also reported last month how recent surveys have helped Mount Mundo Perdido to be recognised as Timor-Leste's seventeenth IBA. Literally meaning ‘Lost World’, Mount Mundo Perdido has the finest montane forests in the country and hosts the largest populations of a suite of hill and montane bird species on Timor Island (Endemics thrive on Timor-Leste's "Lost World" mountain).
A site is recognised as an IBA only if it meets certain criteria, based on the occurrence of key bird species that are vulnerable to global extinction or whose populations are otherwise irreplaceable. One such site is the Western Siem Pang IBA in
We also reported good news about another globally threatened species from
Because IBAs are recognised world-wide, they attract interest from birdwatchers, conservationists and planners. They become travel destinations and targets for eco-tourism projects and scientific study. In October we reported how
IBAs are also vital for local people, with a healthy environment being good for both birds and people. This was emphasised by villagers around Tanzania’s Lake Natron, who recently vowed to protect the lake and its treasure of Lesser Flamingos from industrial development, pointing out that their own future depends on the sustainable use of the lake (Natron community vows to protect the lake and its flamingos).
Finally, we also heard how BirdLife Partners from eight countries attended a workshop in
A worldwide network of IBAs is one step in the process of conserving our planet's birds and biodiversity. The BirdLife Partnership is working hard together to ensure that IBAs remain a cornerstone for bird and biodiversity conservation, and by the time the network is complete, IBAs will cover around 7% of the earth’s land surface.
Credits: Nick Askew