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Nature Uganda

Important Bird Areas

WHY IS MONITORING IBA's IMPORTANT?

Locally and nationally, this is done to detect and act on threats in good time. Assess the effectiveness of conservation efforts and provide information on biodiversity trends. The monitoring programmes have schedules but annual IBA monitoring is the target. To ensure that biodiversity and its habitats are conserved in a good way, we need to monitor these habitats in order to understand:

 

  • How the abundance of biodiversity (e.g. birds species) is changing with time
  • How the structure and quality of their habitats are changing with time
  • How land use is changing with time
  • How forest structure is changing with time
  • How forest birds respond to change in forest structure
  • How regeneration affects the forest and forest specialists

WHAT CAN WE MONITOR IN IBA's?

1
We can monitor physical condition of the site: This could involve for example counting different plant species in the forest or measuring the height of all hardwood species.
2
We can monitor biodiversity (wealth of life): This could be the population of threatened birds, mammals, and butterflies etc that are important to the site being monitored. It is possible to measure these aspects directly or indirectly.
3
  • We can monitor indicators of status and trend relevant to bird populations for which the sites are listed. This is specifically done by measuring state (condition), pressure (threats) and response (conservation actions).

Birds have been used as indicator taxa for many years. They have many advantages as a group to use for biodiversity priority setting compared to other taxa. This is because they are:

  • Widespread
  • They are diverse
  • They are easy to survey
  • They have the aesthetic appeal and many people watch them as a sport or for fun.
  • They are better known than other organisms

 

Birds have been shown to be effective indicators of biodiversity richness in other animals and plant groups. The IBA network is defined by the avifauna it holds, but the conservation of these areas have been shown to protect up to 87% of the biodiversity. Therefore Important Bird Areas (IBAs) are essentially Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs).