Are IBAs better off at the end of 2016?

Media representatives and project funders (WWF Nedbank Green Trust) visited the Verlorenvlei Protected Areas Project in the Western Cape to see progress and speak to landowners. Credit BirdLife South Africa
IBA Programme team members and landowners look for Blue Swallows in the KZN Mistbelt Grasslands IBA while discussing landowner incentives that will help to formally protect these remnant patches of habitat for this Critically Endangered species. Credit Yann Laurans
The IBA Programme contributed to the declaration of 17 000 hectares of priority grassland and wetland protected in the Grasslands IBA. We have another 120 000 hectares in the pipeline in estuaries and grasslands.

2016 was a year for action. The Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA) Programme breathed life into the revised IBA Directory (published in 2015) by implementing ground-level work in priority IBAs. This work focuses on obtaining formal protection and improved habitat management for priority IBAs. A big milestone in 2016 was the declaration of the 17 000-hectare Sneeuwberg Protected Environment, a private protected area in the Grasslands IBA, near Memel in Free State.

We also continue to work on approximately 120 000 hectares within IBAs that we hope to have formally protected, through Biodiversity Stewardship, in the next few years. The proclamation of this protected land will be crucial for securing key estuaries for our waterbirds and migratory species, as well as grasslands for our grassland birds. Just as importantly, it is essential for our country's water security. Partnerships are the key to the successful conservation of these large landscapes, and the IBA Programme is grateful to its partners: WWF-SA, WESSA, SANBI, the Department of Environmental Affairs and provincial governments. We are also grateful to all our funders.

Conserving IBAs – the perfect Christmas gift

Joburg through the Eyes of Igers is a world first: a coffee-table book compiled from Instagram images made by people from all walks of life. The idea was to portray a city through the eyes of Instagrammers (or 'Igers') and at the same time raise funds for conservation. All proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to the conservation of our country's birds through BirdLife South Africa's IBA Programme.

Joburg through the Eyes of Igers is the perfect gift this festive season – and it's a gift that will keep on giving. Click here to view pages from the book.  Click here to order your copy. 

Daniel Marnewick
IBA Programme Manager

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