BirdLife: 10 vital bird habitats saved through conservation action

(BirdLife International) While it is impossible for us to protect every last bit of nature in existence, we can at least throw our energy and collective influence behind saving those that will have the greatest impact to the persistence of biodiversity on the planet. Here are just a few examples…

Since the late 1970s, the BirdLife Partnership has worked collectively to identify, document and protect the places of greatest significance for the conservation of the world’s birds. We call these vital places Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs). BirdLife Partners and other experts have, to date, identified and documented more than 13,000 of these sites in over 200 countries and territories worldwide, and in the oceans, too. These sites provide the BirdLife Partnership, and other organisations, with focus to their conservation action, planning, and advocacy.

This is because birds and other wildlife are not evenly distributed across the world. IBAs cover about 7% of the terrestrial and 2% of the global sea area. Thus, concentrating our efforts on these areas is a cost-effective and efficient way of ensuring the survival of a large number of species.

However, currently around 33% of IBAs lack formal protection, and a further 45% are only partially protected. While these stats are cause for worry, they only serve to highlight the value of documenting these vital habitats so we can mobilise action to protect them.

Our IBA Programme brings focus to our efforts both at local and global levels, and means that while it is impossible for us to protect every last bit of nature in existence, we can at least throw our energy and collective influence behind saving those that will have the greatest impact to the persistence of biodiversity on the planet. Here are just a few examples…

1. Cousin Island, Seychelles

cousin

What makes it so special?

Encircled by white-gold sands and thriving coral reefs, this 27-hectare jewel of an island is blanketed in verdant native woodland, with areas of mangrove and a rocky outcrop protruding from the southern half.

Who lives here?

Seychelles Magpie-robin Copsychus sechellarum (Endangered), Seychelles Warbler Acrocephalus sechellensis (Near Threatened), Hawksbill Turtle (Critically Endangered)

How was it threatened?

Cousin Island had been cleared completely of native vegetation and planted from coast to coast with coconut trees. Restoration became a priority on discovering it was the last refuge of the Seychelles Warbler.

Our response:

In 1968 (thus predating IBAs themselves), BirdLife (then ICPB) launched a worldwide campaign to purchase the island outright. In 1975, it was declared a Special Reserve. The island is now 80% native forest, with ecotourism supporting its upkeep.

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P.O. Box 1310, Mahe, Seychelles

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Email: nature@seychelles.net