The IBA programme of Birdlife International aims to identify, monitor and protect a global network of IBAs for conservation of the world’s birds and associated biodiversity.The IBAs serve as conservation areas for protection of birds at the global, regional or sub-regional level.
Criteria for identification as IBA
According to Birdlife International, designation of IBAs is based on standardized criteria, namely
(i) hold significant numbers of one or more globally threatened bird species.
(ii) be one of a set of sites that together hold a suite of restricted-range species or biome-restricted species.
(iii) have exceptionally large numbers of migratory or congregatory birds.
Habitats under IBAs
The IBAs contain a range of habitats, such as wetlands, mudflats, microhabitats in biodiversity hotspots, grasslands and scrublands, making them excellent indicators of biodiversity richness .
IBAs in India
The Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) and Birdlife International have identified 467 IBAs in India . Forty percent of these IBAs fall outside the Protected Area network and thus form an important tool for landscape-level conservation planning. BNHS has also prepared a list of 96 new/potential sites which can be designated as IBAs in the future.