Tag Archives: project

Ntchisi – Malawis siste regnskog

Hjelmperlehøne

(Frode Falkenberg; 21 mars 2017)

Malawi er et land preget av avskoging. Den enorme befolkningsveksten i det lille fattige sentralafrikanske landet gjør at trykket på skogsområdene er stort. I snart fem år har NOF jobbet med å ta vare på viktige fugleområder i Malawi. En av dem er skogsreservatet Ntchisi.

Ntchisi-regionen i Malawi var tidligere et enormt skogdekt område i den sentrale delen av landet. Deler av disse skogsområdene var (og er) tropisk regnskog. Skogsreservatet dekker i dag et areal på ca. 75 kvadratkilometer, og ligger som en øy i et ellers tungt kultivert landskap. Den unike regnskogen og tilstøtende skogsområder har en rekke sjeldne fugle- og dyrearter. Blant annet er fuglearter som brunmaskeapalis, stjerneskvett, miombomeis, miombosolfugl og skjeggkobberslager ikke uvanlige i området.

Avskoging og ødeleggelse av fuglehabitater

Malawi er et av verdens fattigste land. Med sin plassering midt i sentral-Afrika har de en rekke utfordringer. Tørke, flom og en enorm befolkningsvekst har gjort at presset på naturressursene er omfattende. Etter dårlige avlinger i 2016 ble hele 40 % av befolkningen i landet avhengige av ekstern bistand for å få mat. Befolkningen som lever rundt skogsreservatet Ntchisi talte ved prosjektets oppstart i 2012 omtrent 130 000 mennesker, men har nå økt til 200 000. Tallet stiger stadig.

Den største utfordringen i Ntchisi (og Malawi forøvrig) er avskoging. Den årlige avskogingsraten i Malawi de siste ti åra lagt på nærmere 3 %, hvilket er helt i “toppsjiktet” globalt. Skogsarealene har tradisjonelt blitt brukt til både jakt og sanking av trevirke til bygningsarbeid eller ved. I tillegg kommer mange langveis fra for å hente ved eller lage kull, som de senere selger i byene.

Det er tillatt å hente død ved i reservatet, men hogst av friske trær er forbudt. Blir man tatt for å gjøre det, kan man se fram til både lange fengselsstraffer og drøye bøter. Til tross for dette skjer ulovlig hogst dessverre jevnlig i Ntchisi. Denne hogsten er i første rekke gjort for å lage trekull. Trekull benyttes i liten grad på landsbygda, men i mer urbane strøk er det mer vanlig. Vakter fra både departement og stammene rundt Ntchisi patruljerer daglig skogsområdet for å sørge for at ulovlig hogst ikke forekommer.

I tillegg til hogst er påsatte skogbranner et problem. Dette blir gjort for å åpne beitelandskap til kyr.

NOF sitt arbeid

NOF sin samarbeidspartner er the Wildlife and Environmental Society of Malawi (WESM). Vårt hovedfokus er å ta vare på viktige fugleområder (Importand Bird and Biodiversity Areas – IBA) i landet, der Ntchisi er et slik område. Vi jobber også i to andre IBAer, Kasungu nasjonalpark og Dzalanyama skogsreservat.

Hovedmålet i prosjektet er å bevare fugler, deres habitater og biodiversitet, samt og å arbeide med lokalbefolkningen for en bærekraftig bruk av naturressursene.

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Is protecting threatened birds easy peesie? No, but a new project brings hope to important area

lapwings.jpg(Author: RSPB; Photo: Steve Round; 27 March 2017)

The Peesie Project is one of several that have received funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of the Tomintoul and Glenlivet Landscape Partnership Project.

Led by RSPB Scotland, the Peesie Project aims to conserve and enhance a network of important wetland areas along with working in partnership on adjacent farmland to provide homes for breeding waders. The partnership is supported by volunteers who help to survey the birds and there are still opportunities for people to get involved this year.

Glenlivet and Tomintoul are a hotspot for breeding waders such as lapwings, known locally as Peesies, and curlews, both species that are suffering huge declines across the UK.

In fact, the farmland in this area is home to some of the highest densities of breeding waders in Scotland. In 2016, 3255 hectares of farmland across 17 farms were home to 734 pairs of breeding waders including 384 pairs of lapwings, 203 pairs of oystercatchers and 97 pairs of curlews.

It is hoped that the Peesie Project can safeguard this fantastic area as an important home for these birds for decades to come.

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Vultures need you

agami-vale-gier-griffon-vulture.jpg(Shaun Hurrell; 24 March 2017)

Let’s face it: vultures are special. Part of human culture, they are seen as disgusting by some, yet loved by others (including us and you). Asia’s vultures have suffered some of the fastest population declines ever recorded in a bird, and Africa’s recent severe declines mean that now most old-world vultures are on the edge of extinction. With a unique scavenging niche, this group of birds clean our landscapes and help to prevent the spread of disease—among the many reasons why we are doing all we can to save them. BirdLife’s vulture campaign has already shown how many people love and value vultures, and now there is a chance for some of you to input technical comments on the draft plan that sets out how best to conserve them.

Today we promote a public consultation on a new draft Multi-Species Action Plan to conserve African-Eurasian Vultures, launched by the Coordinating Unit of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) Raptors MOU, in collaboration with BirdLife International, Vulture Conservation Foundation and the IUCN Vulture Specialist Group. (The CMS Raptors MoU is the Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Birds of Prey in Africa and Eurasia—an international, legally non-binding agreement to protect migratory birds of prey.)

In total, 127 countries are lucky to have recorded vultures in their skies.

This plan, if adopted by the Parties to CMS in October this year, would mean these countries being requested to take decisive action over twelve years to save vultures. The Plan would also guide states that are not Parties to CMS, as well as many other actors. This includes actions to protect vultures across Africa, Asia and Europe from all of threats sadly faced by these birds: poisoning, persecution, collision with energy infrastructure, habitat loss, and many more.

Whilst we are doing all we can to ensure a future for these special birds it is, above all, Governments that have the resources to solve this problem at the huge scale required.

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Laguna Mar Chiquita will become a National Park

Flamenco Austral.jpg(Francisco González Táboas; Photo: Pablo Rodríguez Merkel; 9 March 2017)

Mar Chiquita is the largest salt lake in South America, a wetland of interannual importance and now in the process of becoming the largest National Park in Argentina.

True “clouds” of up to half a million Phalaropus tricolor phallus cover the sky almost to cover the sun. The horizon turns pink thanks to the 100,000 southern flamingos that live and nest there. The gold of the grasslands, which protect the enigmatic aguará guazú, obliges to reduce the pupils of the eyes. The water covers everything as far as the eye can see, but the sounds and colors of the birds stand in a festival for the senses capable of moving any human being: a true “sea of nature”.

Such are the days in the Mar Chiquita lagoon and the Dulce River wetlands, the largest salt lake in South America, which is nothing less than a wetland of importance according to the Ramsar Convention and one of the five Areas important for the conservation of Birds that are in danger (IBAs in Danger, in English) in Argentina.

A few years ago Aves Argentinas (BirdLife in Argentina) set out to work to achieve the effective conservation of many of its IBAs, especially those that were in danger. This was done 3 years ago with the plateau of Lake Buenos Aires, fundamental for the future of the maca tobiano Podiceps gallardoi that today is largely the Patagonia National Park.

This time it was Mar Chiquita’s turn. Although it currently has a figure of Multiple Use Reserves, it has several problems of clearing, unplanned use of water resources and tourism and illegal hunting that affect it. Thus, Aves Argentinas, with the National Park on the horizon, began work in the area, identifying fiscal areas that could join the protected area and getting donors for eventual land purchases.

In addition to meetings with local actors, researchers, environmental educators, the Bird Watchers Club and villagers. Little by little, the idea took shape and strength.

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Japan is home to one third of all seabirds – so we mapped its waters

(Text Alex Dale, 7 February, 2017; Photo Noriko Hisamatsu)

Japan is known for its densely-populated cities, but some of its most vital areas for bird conservation are places where humans rarely venture – its marine waters.

A nation comprised of a chain of islands, Japan is blessed with a long and rugged coastline, which is home to a particularly high diversity of seabirds within Asia. Nearly a third of all known seabird species venture into Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone, which stretches 200 nautical miles from its coastline. These species includes all three North Pacific albatrosses, eight auks and eleven petrels and shearwaters.

As seabirds are one of the most threatened groups of birds worldwide, it’s no surprise that some of these species have been assessed by BirdLife as threatened, and are in urgent need of protection. These include the Short-tailed Albatross Phoebastria albatrus, listed as Vulnerable due to its extremely small breeding range, which is limited to several Pacifici islands; Tristram’s Storm-petrel Hydrobates tristrami, which is threatened by predation by rats and cats introduced to the islands it breeds on; and Japanese Murrelet Synthliboramphus wumizusume, which is threatened by human disturbance by anglers at its breeding sites and accidental capture in gillnet fisheries, among other factors.

As you can see, Japan’s seabirds already face a complex web of threats, and the concern is that the ongoing expansion of offshore wind farms in and around the country could heap yet more pressure onto the most threatened species. They are being built to meet a national need for renewable energy, one which has only grown following the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster of 2011. Clearly, there is a pressing need for Japan’s most vital marine sites to be properly monitored and protected.

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