Brazil's mightiest biomes get mapped the IBA way
Brazil is a country of superlatives: big and biodiverse. Three of the most extensive biomes in the entire world — the Amazon Rainforest, the Pantanal Wetlands and the Cerrado savannas occur in Brazil. The Important Bird Areas (IBAs) of these three unique areas are now covered in a new publication Important Bird Areas in Brazil: Part II – Amazon, Cerrado and Pantanal.
In 2004, SAVE Brasil (BirdLife Partner) was established with the mission of conserving birds, their habitats and biodiversity, and working with people towards the sustainable use of natural resources. One of the first tasks was to identify IBAs for Brazil. Not an easy task by any means. Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world at over 8.5 million square kilometres and also has the fifth largest population, mainly concentrated around the coastal strip.
The first part of the study was completed in 2006, with the publication of Important Bird Areas in Brazil: Part I – the Atlantic Forest Region. This book described 163 IBAs in the Atlantic Forest, the Caatinga, the Pampa, and portions of the Cerrado.
The process has now been completed with the publication of the second volume that describes 74 IBAs. Important Bird Areas in Brazil: Part II represents the first mapping of priority areas for bird conservation in the Amazon, the Cerrado, and the Pantanal.
Of a total of 237 Brazilian IBAs now identified, only 21% are protected; 39% are partially protected, and the remaining 40% have no official protection at all. As Dr Jaqueline Goerck, SAVE Brasil’s Director President and co-author of the publication says, "There is still a long way to go to ensure the long-term survival of Brazil’s bird diversity."
"There is still a long way to go to ensure the long-term survival of Brazil's bird diversity" —Dr Jaqueline Goerck, SAVE Brasil
Together, the 237 IBAs mapped cover over 94 million hectares, the equivalent of 11% of Brazilian territory. "Brazil is one of the countries with the largest areas of IBAs", says Dr Pedro Develey, SAVE Brasil's Conservation Director and coauthor of the publication. "This is not surprising, considering that the country is also the world leader in the number of threatened bird species." One hundred and twenty two out of a total of 1,822 species recorded in Brazil.
"Evidently IBAs are not a complete dataset for all taxa, but they certainly represent the minimum that needs to be conserved in the country", says Jaqueline.
"We expect that, like the Atlantic Forest IBA volume, Important Bird Areas in Brazil: Part II will contribute in many ways towards the protection of these areas. We have distributed (and will continue to distribute) the publication to key stakeholders, many of whom have already incorporated the information into their databases to define priorities for research", Jaqueline continues.
"In addition, we hope that the second volume will, as the first volume has, help public prosecutors build their argument towards the protection of key sites in areas where much future development is planned. Indeed, we have provided the information to the MMA who are currently working on the Ecological Economic Macro-zoning of the Brazilian Amazon."
"It is everyone’s duty to help find the best solutions and to support the implementation of these practices in these regions", concludes Jaqueline Goerck.
Important Bird Areas in Brazil: Part II – Amazon, Cerrado and Pantanal was developed by SAVE Brasil with the support of the Museu de Ciências Naturais of the Fundação Zoobotânica do Rio Grande do Sul, Aage V. Jensen Charity Foundation and the Council of AgricultureForestry Bureau-Taiwan.
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