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.
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).
Compiled 2004, updated 2008
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: 25/04/2014
|Key message: Sites crucial for conserving birds - Important Bird Areas - have been identified in most countries|