Important Bird Areas (IBA) Programme
"The selection of Important Bird Areas (IBAs) has been a particularly effective way of identifying conservation priorities. IBAs are key sites for conservation – small enough to be conserved in their entirety and often already part of a protected-area network. They do one (or more) of three things:
* Hold significant numbers of one or more globally threatened species
* Are one of a set of sites that together hold a suite of restricted-range species or biome-restricted species
* Have exceptionally large numbers of migratory or congregatory species
What is the Important Bird Areas Programme?
The IBA Programme of BirdLife International aims to identify, monitor and protect a global network of IBAs for the conservation of the world's birds and other biodiversity. BirdLife Partners take responsibility for the IBA Programme nationally, with the BirdLife Secretariat taking the lead on international aspects and in some priority non-Partner countries.
Since IBAs are identified, monitored and protected by national and local organisations and individuals, working on the ground, the IBA Programme can be a powerful way to build national institutional capacity and to set an effective conservation agenda: it is far more than a technical research exercise.
As of 2009, nearly 11,000 sites in some 200 countries and territories have been identified as Important Bird Areas."
IMPORTANCE OF IBAs IN PALESTINE
Objective: to identify and conserve all sites of global, regional and national importance for birds...
Identification of IBA involves the study of the important bird sites in:
Palestine's IBA data has been updated in accordance with internationally recognized scientific criteria, through a book produced by PWLS in 1999. This Palestinian IBA book is the first of its kind in the Middle East. It also serves as a national strategy for the conservation and management of birds and their habitats in the country. The results and recommendations in the IBA Program of Palestine was deduced in coordination and cooperation with the Palestinian Environmental Authority and it is compatible with the Palestinian Biodiversity Strategic Action Plan for 1998.
In this study, 13 sites have been identified as important areas for conservation. These areas include Palestinian Coast, Jerusalem Mountains, Eastern Slopes and the Jordan Valley differing in climate and bio-geographical location. The areas also vary from semi natural, urban and rural areas, much of which is rich agricultural land with high agro-biodiversity.
Although, the IBA study has defined the areas, threats and importance of their conservation, only a few actions have been taken in relation to conservation and management of IBA's in Palestine. The political situation has caused massive unsustainable development which the vitality and serenity of such important biodiversity areas. IBA's in Palestine are currently undergoing many negative affects from the occupation such as ecosystem destruction, extinction of species and degradation of local and migratory wildlife.
In agricultural production, farmers are using chemical pesticides for pest management, which do not only affect pests, but also useful biodiversity including birds. Many indigenous and migratory birds, in fact, are beneficial for integrated pest management. It is estimated that around 50% of Palestine birds are vital for agricultural pest management, though little information is known pertaining to their exact role in integrated pest management. Therefore, there is a need to update scientific information, manage, promote and protect these birds. Additionally, there is a need to manage birds, which are totally dependent on agricultural crops.
It is very crucial at this stage to update, monitor and conserve Important Bird Areas in Palestine, to insure their sustainability and benefit to the local economy of their cultural and natural values.