Freshwater biodiversity workshops pave the way for further research in the Mediterranean Basin
BirdLife’s Mediterranean Basin Regional Implementation Team (RIT) has an update from their very first grantee within the hotspot.
A $248,332 grant was awarded to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (Global Species Programme; Freshwater Biodiversity Unit) in July 2012. The grant, Freshwater Biodiversity Assessment and Conservation Priorities for the Mediterranean Basin Hotspot, is funding the research and mapping of ecological data for key freshwater species groups in the eastern Mediterranean, to identify Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) and assess human use. A key output of the grant is organising stakeholder workshops throughout the hotspot, focusing on the identification of KBAs, sustainable management techniques, conservation actions, and organizations to take the lead on conservation actions at each site.
The freshwater KBAs will be entered into the WBDB enabling them to be publicly recognised alongside the IBAs, AZEs, and other terrestrial KBAs. This represents an important step forwards in the protection of freshwater biodiversity in the face of development. IUCN has now carried out two workshops to validate and create awareness of proposed sites. The first of these was the IUCN workshop on Freshwater Key Biodiversity Areas in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In this workshop experts compiled information for 90 freshwater KBAs, within a network of river and lake catchments; identifying the species present, the major threats, priority actions, and potential champions in a position to raise the profile of each KBA site.
The next step is to complete the data sets for each site, aiming to provide the foundation for the creation of a representative Protected Areas network for freshwater species, as well as providing information on important sites for freshwater biodiversity for decision makers involved in the conservation and sustainable management of freshwater biodiversity in the Mediterranean Basin Biodiversity Hotspot.