The places that matter the most
Important Bird Areas (IBAs) are sites of global bird conservation importance. Each IBA meets one of four global criteria used by BirdLife International. IBAs are priority areas for bird conservation - we aim to monitor birds at our IBAs, advocate their importance to government, and work with land-holders and other local people to conserve them.
The Wyperfeld, Big Desert and Ngarkat crosses the SA and Vic borders and is globally important for a number of mallee birds including Malleefowl, Mallee Emuwren and Black-eared Miner. Image by Glenn Ehmke.
One of Tasmania’s wetland IBAs, Moulting Lagoon is important for Black Swan and Pied Oystercatcher. Image by Allan Briggs.
Background to the IBA program
The Important Bird Areas (IBA) program is an international non-governmental conservation scheme lead by BirdLife International Partners such as BirdLife Australia.
Important Bird Areas (IBAs) are sites of international importance for bird conservation. IBAs are small enough to be practical targets for conservation management but large enough to meet the global IBA criteria.
The Australian IBA program will help protect a network of sites critical for the conservation of Australia's birds by:
promoting IBAs as a tool for biodiversity conservation planning
encouraging government to prioritise conservation at IBAs (e.g. in grant-giving schemes)
encouraging and facilitating local community-based groups and land-owners to manage land sustainably and conserve key bird species
The IBA process:
Identification - any site which meets the global IBA criteria will be identified as an IBA. Published data will be analysed and local experts, land-owners and other local stakeholders will be consulted.
Monitoring - basic data on the key birds and habitats will be collected annually where practicable.
Conservation - the project will help any local group or land-owner with advice, contacts and possibly fund-raising and lobbying, to conserve their IBA.
The IBA process has proved very successful across the world with 7,678 global IBAs identified in 198 countries and territories by mid-2008. For more background on the use of IBAs in assessing conservation status, threats and actions, see BirdLife International's State of the World's Birds.