Important Bird Area

Important Bird Areas (IBA ) are areas that are classified according to global criteria as important for species and habitat protection specifically for birds. The program was initiated in the late 1970s to life by the world 's governing body of the bird protection associations BirdLife International and is a non-governmental conservation initiative. The areas are listed by the national member organizations of BirdLife regardless of a state designation as a nature reserve and serve among other things as a suggestion lists for future protected areas or increased protection orders.


The first list was published in 1981, 2004, there were around 7,500 IBAs in approximately 170 countries around the world, the end of 2008 the number was about 10,000.

Europe is a leader due to well-organized nature conservation organizations and the widespread scientific data base. About half of all IBAs are located in Europe.


Four criteria can be used for classification of Important Bird Areas:

Listed are all areas in which a population is detected or suspected of bird species that are threatened on the Red List of the World Conservation Union IUCN as endangered, critically endangered or endangered reported. When threatened or high risk of extinction may be a regular proof in the area date, even if no brood or a longer stay is assigned. For endangered species, the classification of detecting several types depends on the threshold value is set regionally.

Areas are designated as an IBA if they have a special significance for species with limited geographical distribution area. Build on the program of Endemic Bird Areas ( EBA) has been developed.

Species that are dependent on specific habitat types within a large distribution area can trigger the classification of such areas, which have a special meaning for these species. This is especially true if the type is not detected by the other criteria.

Some species congregate at certain seasons in a few places with existential importance for these species in particular, water, marine and migratory birds. Therefore region to be classified as an IBA, in which

  • I). Waterfowl: more than 1% of individuals in a large region according to the criteria of the Ramsar Convention [ on wetlands, especially as a habitat for waterfowl and waders of International Importance ]
  • Ii). Marine birds: more than 1% of the world's stock
  • Iii). over 20,000 individuals in waterfowl or more than 10,000 pairs of seabirds (one or more species accumulated) stop or simultaneously
  • Iv ). which happens to be from about 5000 or storks over 3,000 raptors or cranes on migration.

Other criteria are for local features. For European listings since the 1990s, some B criteria were developed. There are special B- criteria because of the special bundling effect of wetlands and less bird migration routes in the region now also for the Middle East. Even for America were established criteria meantime regional (B ) and national (D). They correspond to the global A- criteria with respect to a bioregion or a state.

Importance of the program

Important Bird Areas are an essential basis for the expulsion of European bird protection areas under the EEC Birds Directive, which in turn are included in the Natura 2000 program of the European Union. The European Court of Justice and national superior courts have on several occasions the implementation of European nature conservation law judged by whether IBAs were placed under state protection. European nature conservation organizations took advantage of the existing lists of IBAs to the European Commission as a tool to exert political pressure on Member States who would not comply with the obligation to classify SPAs.

A collaboration with BirdLife International calls for the SPAW Protocol ( Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife in the Wider Caribbean Region) of UNEP, most countries of the Caribbean area - signed - native and mother countries of the territories. The work plan the programs of BirdLife were called as relevant in reserve affairs and called for the consideration by the signatory States.

" Cooperation with BirdLife International to promote Important Bird Areas ( IBAs ) in the region and examine linkages in between IBAs and existing protected areas: Gap analysis Conducted to examine marine IBAs and the existing MPA [ marine protection area ] network Throughout the WCR [Undo caribbean region ]. Compare existing MPA boundaries with Identified IBAs to deterministic mine the need for new MPAs or to alter the boundaries of existing MPAs. "