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Numbers and types of Important Bird Areas vary between regions

Machalilla National Park and IBA, Ecuador, © Des Callaghan

In Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia, and the Caribbean, Central and South America, regional networks of Important Bird Areas cover no more than 6–15% of the land area, indicating how efficient they are in concentrating conservation effort.


Percentages of sites that meet the different global IBA criteria, by region

BirdLife International (2008)

In all regions, many IBAs are identified for globally threatened birds, emphasising the significance of site-based conservation for many of these species (see figure). Relatively large numbers of IBAs are identified for restricted-range species in the tropics because there are many Endemic Bird Areas in these regions compared with the non-tropical Europe, Middle East and Central Asia. Tropical regions also have proportionately more sites qualifying for biome-restricted assemblages, reflecting their richer faunas. The high proportion of IBAs selected for congregatory birds in Europe, Middle East and Central Asia reflects the relative importance of northern latitudes for wetlands and for migratory waterbirds. The relatively large number of IBAs in Europe and their small mean size (as also in the Caribbean) reflects the degree to which natural habitats have been fragmented by human modification. Only a small proportion of each region is covered by IBAs (6–15%), indicating their high efficiency in concentrating conservation efforts (BirdLife International 2008).


Africa
1,197 IBAs of global significance, covering 2,089,752 km2, equivalent to 7% of the land area. Individual IBAs range in size from 0.01 km2 to 80,000 km2, with a mean size of 1,843 km2.
 
Europe
2,242 IBAs of global significance (and an additional 1,685 sites of regional and subregional importance). Overall, sites identified at the global level cover 814,810 km2, equivalent to 7% of the land area of the region. Individual IBAs range in size from 0.01 km2 to 19,030 km2, with a mean size of 364 km2.
 
Middle East and Central Asia
635 IBAs, covering 559,809 km2, equivalent to 6% of the land area. Individual IBAs range in size from 0.12 km2 to 30,000 km2, with a mean size of 901 km2.
 
Asia
2,275 IBAs, covering 1,984,080 km2, equivalent to 7% of the land area. Individual IBAs range in size from 0.01 km2 to 51,480 km2, with a mean size of 890 km2.
 
Caribbean, Central and South America
912 IBAs, covering 871,926 km2, equivalent to 15% of the land area (of the countries that have been surveyed for IBAs so far). Individual IBAs range in size from 0.01 km2 to 36,409 km2, with a mean size of 974 km2 (137 km2 for Caribbean on its own).
 
 


References

BirdLife International (2008) BirdLife International World Bird Database, accessed 22 May 2008.

Compiled 2004, updated 2008

Recommended Citation:
BirdLife International (2008) Numbers and types of Important Bird Areas vary between regions. Presented as part of the BirdLife State of the world's birds website. Available from: http://birdlife.org/datazone/sowb/casestudy/81. Checked: 23/07/2014