Last week we introduced you to the concept of 'Key Biodiversity Areas', but what exactly are these ‘nature hotspots’? And how did we determine which are ‘the most important places left for life on Earth’?
Back in 2009, BirdLife Australia’s then ‘Important Bird & Biodiversity Area’ (IBA) Program identified 315 places that were critical for the survival of threatened Australian birds based on globally standardised scientific criteria.
IBAs became a crucial conservation and advocacy framework for the protection and management of the most important sites for birds across Australia, and around the world.
However, like IBAs, other conservation approaches also emerged. These generally focused on one species or a specific ecological community, often resulting in confusion among decision-makers and, crucially, duplication of conservation efforts.
Recognising the power of working under one unified conservation approach, BirdLife worked with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and partners to develop overarching framework to identify sites that contribute significantly to global biodiversity. This was a monumental change in the global conservation landscape.
That framework came into effect last September and is known as Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs). Almost all of the places we identified as IBAs in Australia (sites of importance for birds) immediately met criteria to be recognised as KBAs.
In practice, KBAs mean that no threatened species or ecological communities are left out.
At BirdLife Australia, we are genuinely excited by the opportunity this presents for collaboration with governments, private landholders and other partners to work towards better protection and management for these sites, based on shared values.
You can learn more about the KBA Partnership here. Over the coming weeks, I look forward to sharing with you BirdLife Australia’s plans to play our part in conserving our most important natural places.
Chief Executive Officer
Image: Daintree Rainforest canopy, courtesy of Shutterstock