20 Aug 2013

State of Africa's Birds

Flamingo_James Warwick3
Flamingos by James Warwick
By nairobi.volunteer

The BirdLife Africa Partnership has produced the first regional State of Africa's Birds (SOAB) report, launched at the BirdLife World Congress in June 2013 in Ottawa, Canada. The report provides a comprehensive overview of current and emerging environment and development issues in Africa as reflected from in-depth information on birds.

It presents a synthesis of the work and knowledge of the BirdLife Africa Partnership in conserving birds, their habitats and other biodiversity, as well as livelihoods efforts for sustainability in the use of natural resources. The report is a one stop shop that profile the conservation activities of the BirdLife Africa Partnership and the conservation outlook for birds, biodiversity and nature in Africa.

The report was developed through a consultative process and the use of case studies from the region. It explains various themes selected for each of the four main chapters:

  • INTRODUCTION – why birds and biodiversity are important,
  • STATE - what we know about the changing state of the Africa’s birds,
  • PRESSURE – why birds are declining and
  • RESPONSE – what can be done to improve their status.

A tenth of the bird species (2,355) in Africa are classified as global threatened with some at the brink of extinction. The most significant threats to birds in Africa are habitat fragmentation, degradation and destruction. Habitat clearance for agriculture threatens 50%, while logging affects 23% of all (1,230) Africa’s Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs). Other threats to IBAs include climate change, pollution, infrastructure development and over exploitation of bird species.

“Birds are well recognized as indicators of wider biodiversity, healthy functioning ecosystems and ultimately, sustainable development. This publication sets the baseline for applying this indicator role to articulate how nature and people in Africa are performing, and what must be done to attain the sustainable development we all deserve”, said Dr Julius Arinaitwe, BirdLife Regional Director for Africa.

BirdLife is tackling these challenges through targeted conservation programmes, varying from conservation and advocacy actions, awareness raising and by promoting mainstreaming of biodiversity conservation into policies and planning processes. The BirdLife Africa Partnership is a growing network of 25 independent national NGOs in 25 countries committed to people-centered nature conservation. The Partnership operates in a further 16 countries through projects.

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Some of the incredible success stories of the achievements of this Partnership are highlighted, giving hope that sustainability can be achieved. However, despite success stories such as these, much more needs to be done. We hope the report will catalyse science-based decision-making in order to urgently prompt the conservation responses necessary for sustainable livelihoods.

Read more about the State of Africa’s Birds. (PDF 5.6MB)