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Significance of Bird Monitoring in Promoting Ecotourism Fred Barasa Munyekenye Nature Kenya Outline • Why birds • IBAs • Characteristics of Ecotourism • Opportunities of avifauna in ecotourism • Challenges to ecotourism Why birds?—(1) • Birds are a component of biodiversity, a global resource of immense value, largely ignored and abused. • Birds are part of the human culture, e.g. honey-guides, national emblems, stamps, hotel names, etc • Birds bring people together, especially through migration. Soaring birds (Eritrea and Ethiopia, Israel/Palestine) Why birds ..(2)? Economic development • Ecotourism i.e. bird watching a big industry • Food i.e. sustainable game hunting, domestication of chicken, Turkey, ostrich, Guinefowl. • Ecological interactions i.e. seed dispersal and pollination, pest control : Immense value • Problem species: Agriculture, air travel, diseases Birds and the environment Indicator role: • Where the most biodiverse sites are located _ IBAs/KBAs • Indicators of the quality of the habitats on which life depends: DDT, climate change, • Management effectiveness e.g. logging Why birds ..(2)? Economic development • Birds are beautiful, well researched and their distribution known and hence good for Ecotourism – i.e. Bird watching a big industry Cashing in on birds Why birds (3) These elegant birds and other biodiversity need to survive Birds are beautiful Birds & IBAs • The IBA programme is Worldwide project of BirdLife International • Identifies, monitors and protects a network of critical sites for the world’s birds • Nature Kenya’s conservation action for IBAs is both at national and site level i.e. Species actions plans Identification monitoring of IBAs The development and empowerment of Site Support Groups (SSGs) linking conservation with development and poverty alleviation thro income generating activities Important Bird Areas (IBAs) • The IBAs are sites of global biodiversity conservation importance, chosen using agreed-upon, objective, quantitative and scientifically defensible criteria. • Aims at identifying, monitoring and protecting a network of critical sites for the worlds birds • Sites with high diversity of birds ALSO show high diversity of plants, mammals and invertebrates life What makes a Site Qualify? • 1.0 Globally threatened bird species - species of global conservation concern/threatened with extinction • 2.0 Restricted - Range species: Species whose total distribution range on earth is <50,000KM2 • 3.0 Biome restricted species - Birds Species restricted to particular broad habitat types. • 4.0. Congregations of Bird Species-Where large population of birds occur together annually or seasonally Kenya’s IBA sites Ecotourism • Is environmentally responsible travel and visitation to relatively undisturbed natural areas, in order to enjoy and appreciate nature that promotes conservation, has low negative visitor impact, and provides for beneficially active socio-economic involvement of local populations Characteristics of ecotourism • Involves travel to natural destinations • Builds environmental awareness • Provides direct financial benefits for conservation • Provides financial benefits and empowerment for local people • Respects local culture Equipment & Training Nature-based sustainable enterprises and forest conservation Birdwatchers at IBAs 19 Birds, bird watching & Sustainable Natural Resources use and management • Ecotourism is a form of tourism that can favour conservation The communities appreciate biodiversity because of the monetary benefits/income they get as – – – – Small businesses guides/naturalists Income from accommodation/bandas Curios/crafts • Ecotourism also creates awareness about biodiversity conservation because of the little impact it has on the environment Monitoring • Basic • Detailed • Common Bird Monitoring Bird Monitoring Monitoring in Kinangop Grasslands Monitoring Wetlands Challenges & Threats to Ecotourism • Lack of access to markets for local communities involved in ecotourism • Lack of capital for local entrepreneurs e.g. Communities • Changes in culture of local communities • Mass tourism • Poor infrastructure (roads, communications etc) • Lack of capacity – ecotourism still remains a new concept therefore a lot of awareness raising on its opportunities needed • Large areas remain almost unexplored by ornithologists • Insecurity (e.g. northern Frontiers) Challenges & Threats to Ecotourism •Loss and modification of habitat – forests, wetlands & moist grasslands. •Land cover change that destroys/devalues the integrity of sites Threats and challenges to ecotourism • Alien species (Water hyacinth, House crows) • Conflict between economically sustainable and environmentally sustainable • Pollution by agro-chemicals/industrial wastes i.e. Lake Naivasha • Use of chemicals e.g. Furadan, Diclofenac in wildlife poisoning especially birds and mammals Conclusion • Sustainable natural resources is possible and feasible. Key ingredients are: – – – – Good data Good planning Empowering stakeholders to take action Good decisions at policy level Acknowledgements Local Conservation Partners (LCPs) Thank you!!