Brazilian Important Bird Areas get protection
Brazilian President, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, has signed the creation of the Boa Nova National Park and the Boa Nova Wildlife Refuge, safeguarding this biodiverse Important Bird Area (IBA) and creating 27,000 hectares of new protected area.
Boa Nova IBA, located in south-west Bahia state, has a unique flora and fauna due to the overlap of two biomes: lush montane Atlantic Forest, and semi-arid caatinga. The dry deciduous forest of the transitional area, known as mata-de-cipó, is the habitat of two restricted range species, the Endangered Slender Antbird Rhopornis ardesiacus and Near Threatened Narrow-billed Antwren Formicivora iheringi. Three hundred and ninety six bird species have been recorded to date at Boa Nova, 14 of which are globally threatened and 17 Near Threatened.
During the event, President Lula also signed the creation of the Serra das Lontras National Park, another IBA where 16 globally threatened bird species occur, and the creation of the Alto Cariri National Park, in addition to the expansion of the Pau Brasil National Park. Together, these areas will protect about 60,000 hectares of Atlantic Forest, one of the most threatened biomes in the world.
"This is one of the greatest victories for bird conservation in Brazil. These new protected areas are all IBAs, including two sites considered priorities for action by SAVE Brasil. When we initiated our work at these sites they were known by only a few ornithologists, now they are recognised at the national level, and the chances for the survival of an impressive number of threatened bird species have increased considerably", said Jaqueline Goerck, Director-President of SAVE Brasil (BirdLife Partner).
The creation of the protected areas at Boa Nova and Serra das Lontras is a milestone in the efforts for the protection of the region’s biodiversity. SAVE Brasil has been working on both areas for several years, in partnership with governments, non-governmental organisations and local communities, and supporting the process that culminated with the creation of these protected areas.
"This is one of the greatest victories for bird conservation in Brazil" —Jaqueline Goerck, SAVE Brasil
The Serra das Lontras Forest Complex comprises montane and lowland forests. This gradient of vegetation enables the occurrence of rich bird diversity: 330 species recorded so far, 16 of which are globally threatened and 13 Near Threatened. Serra das Lontras is also a hot spot of plant diversity with 735 angiosperm species, 150 species of ferns and lycophytes. At least 38 species of mammals also occur, among them two primates and three felids threatened with extinction.
The region is also characterized by the traditional cultivation of cacao in cabruca, an agroforestry system that favors the conservation of biodiversity for being associated to areas of native Atlantic Forest. However, because of the cacao crisis, producers have been forced to substitute the cabrucas with more aggressive land uses which degrade forests and threaten the survival of the region’s rich biodiversity.
"Now that these protected areas are created, the next step is to develop and apply their management plans. SAVE Brasil will continue to be involved in this process, working with the Brazilian government to ensure the effective implementation of these protected areas and the long term survival of their unique biodiversity", said Goerck.
The work developed by SAVE Brasil on public policies is funded by the Aage V Jensen Charity Foundation. The conservation programme at Boa Nova is funded by the Brazilian Ministry of the Environment - Ecological Corridors Project, KFW, Nature Canada and Ricoh Co. Ltd. A project for the conservation and sustainable development of Serra das Lontras was funded by the European Union, from 2005 to 2009. The project was developed by BirdLife International, in partnership with SAVE Brasil and Instituto de Estudos Socioambientais do Sul da Bahia (IESB).
Read more about how to receive BirdLife news.