15 Mar 2017

Mapping the world's most threatened bird habitats

A new Story Map, produced by BirdLife, highlights vital endangered birding habitats in Africa, and showcases some success stories from Australia

Sokoke Scops Owl © Peter Steward
Sokoke Scops Owl © Peter Steward
By Alex Dale

Since the 1970s, BirdLife International and its Partners has worked to identify and protect the areas on our planet - over both land and sea - that are of great significance to the conservation of the world's threatened birds.

The result is the largest global network of significant biodiversity sites in the world - to date, over 12,000 Important Bird & Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) have been documented. And that number continues to grow all the time as our reach and our knowledge expands.

Unfortunately, the future of some of these IBAs is far from secure. Many IBAs lack any form of formal protection, and whether it be deforestation, climate change, war, urbanization or whatever, many of these crucial sites and habitats - and those that live within them - face being lost forever.

But we're working to save them. Our IBAs in Danger initiative provides an essential focus for governments, development agencies, the international environmental and conservation conventions, business and wider civil society to act to prevent the further damage or loss of these sites.

As part of this initiative, we have produced a Map Tool to portray the range and locations of IBAs in Danger. Our most recent update casts a light on the dangers being faced at IBAs the length and breadth of this mammoth continent - from Madagascar forests decimated by logging, to National Parks that are threatened by the construction of a Dual Carriage Superhighway that will cut straight through its most pristine habitats.

Each example introduces the IBA, who lives there, what it's like, and what we're doing to save it.

And although some of the examples might make you despair, grave situations can be turned around. We also include some uplifting and inspiring stories from Australia, where grasslands and island habitats have been restored to their former glory, thanks to the tireless efforts of our Partners - with nature rebounding accordingly.

Discover the new IBAs in Danger story map here.