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BirdLife News

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Endemic Birds Protected

BirdLife International in Indochina and The World Bank have signed a Global Environment Facility (GEF) grant agreement of US$ 973,000 to support a project in Vietnam’s Central Highlands.

The project aims to conserve biodiversity in one of the country’s highest priority protected areas. Chu Yang Sin National Park is an Important Bird Area (IBA), as well as being part of a larger Endemic Bird Area (EBA) containing seven restricted-range bird species. The park is also the only protected area known to support the Endangered Grey-crowned Crocias Crocias langbianis.The project aims to establish public support and effective management for Chu Yang Sin National Park by creating an interface between natural and agricultural landscapes; protecting the integrity of key biodiversity attributes; promoting integrated approaches to watershed and protected area management; and outlining realistic and sustainable future development options for the park. Said Jonathan Eames of BirdLife in Indochina

Unlike many other areas of Vietnam, the 60,000ha of mountain forest in the park are still in good condition. The project will help establish effective enforcement and forest protection to prevent encroachment and illegal exploitation of the park’s natural resources. It will also increase scientific knowledge about the area and build awareness among local people of its importance for biodiversity.New reserve for Houbaras

SEO/BirdLife (BirdLife in Spain) have purchased a 209 hectare reserve to protect the globally threatened Houbara Bustard Chlamydotis undulate on Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands.

The reserve consists of 209 hectareas of well-preserved steppe habitat. 16 Houbaras were counted in the winter 2004/05 census. Other interesting species recorded in the reserve are Black-bellied Sandgrouse Pterocles orientalis, Cream-coloured Courser Cursorius cursor, Eurasian Thick-knee Burhinus oedicnemus insularum (endemic race), Lesser Short-toed Lark Calandrella rufescens polatzeki (also endemic), Berthelott's Pipit Anthus berthelotii, Great Grey Shrike Lanius meridionalis koenigi, Trumpeter Finch Bucanetes githagineus, Spectacled Warbler Sylvia conspicillata, and a single pair of Fuerteventura Chats Saxicola dacotiae.

The population of the endemic Canary Islands race of Houbara fuertaventurae was placed at 527 in the mid-1990s, with 18 on La Graciosa, 268 on Lanzarote and 241 on Fuerteventura. Numbers are thought to have declined subsequently, although there is evidence that they now on the rise again, particularly on Lanzarote.European Parliament breathes LIFE into environment

The European Parliament has struck a blow for the environment, with MEPs overturning plans to weaken 'LIFE+', the EU's Financial Instrument for the Environment. On 7 July, MEPs dismissed the Commission's move to axe the EU's only dedicated nature conservation programme, currently called LIFE Nature, which has been a major success for EU environmental efforts. This is seen as a significant move to help implement the EU's commitment to halt the loss of biodiversity by 2010. It will help protect and revive Europe's most valued sites and species.MEPs also made the first major move in getting a significant increase in funding by voting for a budget increase of nearly five times the Commission's figure: 9.5 billion Euro over seven years instead of 2 billion Euro. This was seen as a move to help properly finance the EU's network of 18,000 protected sites that have until now received minimal EU funds.

We hope this will send a strong message to the UK Presidency and to Member States that they should honour their environmental commitments. If Heads of State sign up to ambitious targets, such as halting the loss of biodiversity by 2010, the necessary tools and resources must be secured. Said Sach Cleminson for BirdLife

Environment Ministers from all twenty five Member States will now have to negotiate a joint position in response to last week's first reading Parliamentary Resolution. The UK Presidency has hinted it aims to decide on a response by December this year.Ugandan IBAs not just for birds

New research carried out by BirdLife and its Partners suggest that Important Bird Areas (IBAs) are an effective mechanism for conserving a wide range of biodiversity.

Although IBAs are selected entirely on bird-based criteria, conservationists have long argued that these sites are also signficant for the conservation for a large range of other important, often threatened, plants and animals. Until now this has been difficult to quantify, but a unique study by the Forest Department of Uganda has produced promising new evidence.The study clearly highlights the vital role that IBAs play in conserving the world's biodiversity. It's usually much easier to survey bird species than other types of wildlife – because they're generally better known and easier to identify. Now we have proof that IBAs are also of prime importance for other biodiversity, many time- and cost-saving benefits can be gained for conservation as a whole by embracing the IBA network. —Lincoln Fishpool, Global IBA Co-ordinator, BirdLife The Forest Department of Uganda, has gathered comprehensive inventories of five taxa (birds, butterflies, large moths, small mammals and woody plants) for all of Uganda's 50 forest reserves. Independently, Nature Uganda (BirdLife in Uganda) identified 13 IBAs which were also forest reserves. These were found to contain a very high proportion of the total number of species of each of the five taxa – not just birds – recorded for the full set of fifty reserves, illustrating the role that IBAs can play in protecting many kinds of wildlife and plants.

By Deborah J. Pain, Lincoln Fishpool, Achilles Byaruhanga, Julius Arinaitwe, Andrew Balmford

Biological Conservation Volume 125 (September 2005), pp.133-138

4th July 2014