Gaps in the protected area network for threatened Afrotropical birds

De Klerk, Helen Margaret ; Fjeldsa, J. ; Blyth, S. ; Burgess, N. D. (2004)

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Protected areas established for wildlife conservation (IUCN category I–VI protected areas) or for forest and watershed conservation (forest reserves) across mainland sub-Saharan Africa have high biodiversity values. However, they fail to cover over half of the 106 threatened bird species, and thus leave these vulnerable to extinction. An analysis of Red List bird species that are not represented in existing reserves indicates gaps in the current network of protected areas, namely: Mt. Cameroon-Bamenda highlands (Cameroon), the Angolan scarp (Angola), the Drakensberg Highlands (South Africa), the Highveld (South Africa), the Eastern Arc Mountains (Tanzania), the eastern African coastal forest mosaic (Kenya and Tanzania), the Albertine Rift (Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and western Tanzania), and the Ethiopian Highlands. The addition of Forest Reserves to the existing protected areas closes some of the reservation gaps for threatened birds in Africa. We suggest that these Forest Reserves should be included within official lists of protected areas, and that National forestry authorities be encouraged to manage these areas. Publication of scientific articles showing the conservation value of Forest Reserves is needed to raise local and international support and funding.

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