Climate Change - Africa

Local children and scientists, USAID
Local children and scientists. Photo: Tom Casadevall, USAID

Climate change is probably one of the greatest threats facing biodiversity, both in Africa and globally. There is a growing global consensus that the rate of climate change has already exceeded the capacity of some species and ecosystems to adapt naturally, and is close to exceeding that of many more.

Furthermore, it is recognised that climate change will have increasingly significant direct impacts on biodiversity and that increased rates of species extinctions are likely. This will have negative consequences for the provision of services these species and ecosystems provide, especially in areas like the Albertine Rift where the majority of the human population are the rural poor who are dependent on direct exploitation of these services.

The BirdLife Africa Partnership has been a leader in finding solutions to the climate change challenge as it affects birds and Important Bird and BiodiversityAreas. Since 2007, the Partnership has implemented projects across Africa, with a special focus on the Albertine Rift countries of Rwanda, Burundi, and Uganda. The following are some key achievements:

  • Capacity for policy and advocacy in relation to climate change promoted with three BirdLife Partner staff trained in Rwanda, Burundi, and Uganda.

  • One Msc student supported to undertake studies on the impacts of climate change on birds in Nyungwe, Kibira, and Echuya forests.

  • A Monitoring Guide to help scientists in future studies on climate change and birds produced as a result of the MSc studentship.

  • Site-level planning stakeholder meetings held in three countries and priority policy and management actions identified.

  • A glossy brochure summarising BirdLife’s message on climate change produced.

  • A Climate Change Adaptation Framework to guide climate change adaptation at site level produced.

  • Africa-wide models showing climate change impact on 815 priority bird species and 803 Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas in Africa that will be impacted by climate change completed.

  • The models typically showed that IBAs may experience a shift of 35–45% of their priority species by 2085 as a result of climate change. 

  • Detailed modeling work for 14 focus endemic species in the Albertine Rift completed

  • The Albertine Rift modeling showed that all the species were at severe risk from climate change impacts.  The species at the highest risk is the Red-collared Mountain-babbler Kupeornis rufocinctus.

  • Maps showing possible areas of expanding IBAs produced.

  • Over 1600 species distribution maps of African Birds in relation to climate change produced. The maps show projected impacts of climate change for all the species for the present, and for 2025, 2055 & 2085.

  • Project results disseminated at various meetings including international conferences and national workshops.


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Assessing ecosystem services - TESSA

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