- The status of biodiversity "is progressively declining" in African protected areas according to environmentalists. Over half of the protected areas investigated in a study showed degrading biodiversity.
These negative figures were unveiled today by the environmentalist group BirdLife during an international environment conference in Nairobi, Kenya. The group, which is working in 22 countries in Africa in over 1,200 "Important Bird Areas", had compiled a study over biodiversity in many of those protected areas.
"While all countries have increased efforts to conserve biodiversity, much more is still to be done," BirdLife concluded. The group presented results from a monitoring project of protected areas at 117 sites across seven African countries.
"The monitoring results clearly show that the state of biodiversity in protected areas is declining," the study concluded. "Sites identified as being in a poor state increased from 43 percent in 2001, to 57 percent in 2008," it found.
At the same time there had been a general increase of threats facing protected areas. "The results of our monitoring indicate that the pressures on biodiversity have been increasing, falling far short of the target to reduce biodiversity loss", said BirdLife advisor Dr Muhtari Aminu Kano.
The data from the monitoring had been used to develop indicators to show trends over time within "Important Bird Areas". These results were said to "form important components of the suite of indicators suitable to track biodiversity progress" towards the 2010 Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) target, and wider sustainable development around the globe.
"The results also show that if proper management responses are put in place it is possible to improve the state of biodiversity and reduce pressures", said Achilles Byaruhanga - Executive Director of Nature Uganda.
"This was well demonstrated through the sites monitored in Botswana - Central Kalahari Game reserve, Okavango Delta and Mannyelanong - where comprehensive and effective uses of existing management plans have been instituted," Mr Byaruhanga added.
"BirdLife's monitoring tool is a useful tool and can be used by governments to identify threats, assess their impacts and that of conservation action while at the same time helping to develop solutions", said Dr Julius Arinaitwe - BirdLife Africa Partnership Director.
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