Birdlife's 1989 survey of IBAs has already played an significant role in development of habitat conservation measures by EU states. Today's report is set to maintain that influence by identifying many more IBAs and by listing large numbers in central and eastern Europe for the first time.
As defined by Birdlife, IBAs are critical habitats for conservation of wild birds, including wetlands, forest and grasslands. Its new report identifies sites for 70% of wild bird species, covering 7% of Europe's land area.
The group claims that "immediate action" is required to safeguard IBAs, noting that 60% of those identified are not protected. Today it called on European countries to designate all IBAs as protected areas under national law, to adequately manage IBAs and to monitor them to understand changes. It added that special efforts were needed to prevent damage to IBAs in EU applicant countries as they adapt to the Union's common agricultural policy.
Birdlife International, tel: +32 2 280 0830.
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