The world’s key sites for conservation, on one map:
BirdLife has published a map showing the location of over 10,000 of the world’s most important sites for birds and biodiversity, and their protection status.
The map, to be presented for the first time at COP-10 of the Convention on Biological Diversity in Nagoya, Japan, shows the global network of Important Bird Areas (IBAs) identified by the BirdLife Partnership.
Although chosen using standardised scientific criteria based on the distribution of key bird species, IBAs have also been shown to be important for other animals and plants. They provide a “first cut” of the overall network of the most significant sites for biodiversity conservation worldwide. For example, the 30 Ugandan IBAs, covering only 8% of the land surface, hold 74% of Uganda’s 1,247 recorded butterfly species, and 82% of those endemic to the country or the Albertine Rift region.
IBAs have been recognised worldwide as practical tools for conservation, enabling efforts to be concentrated where they will be most effective. For example, with the publication of this new global map of IBAs, BirdLife is exposing the gaps in the world’s network of protected areas. While some 59% of the sites are shown in dark green, indicating that they are wholly or partially protected, the remaining sites are shown in light green, indicating that they lack any form of protection or, in some cases, that their protection status is unknown.
The 10,000 is fitting for me today, as it has officially been announced that I’ll be contributing a couple times a month as a Beat Writer for the wonderful bird blog, 10,000 Birds.
I can’t wait! Look for my first contribution to be up on Friday, 6PM GMT.