11 leading conservation organisations get serious with a new partnership to save the planet
The white-crowned hornbill (chick shown here) is one of the 10 hornbill species native to Malaysia. It can be found in Belum-Temengor.
In what could be the start of a revolution in conservation, 11 of the world’s conservation organisations, including BirdLife International announced a new partnership to identify, map, monitor and conserve the most important places for life on earth.
The collective has dubbed these places Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) and committed more than US$15 million for the next five years. They're hoping that this new partnership will introduce a ‘gold standard’ for site conservation by establishing consistent criteria for conservation that will be recognised by international bodies. This announcement was made earlier this month during the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Hawaiʻi, USA.
BirdLife International is already a familiar name among environmental groups for their work in avian conservation. Prior to joining this partnership, BirdLife International had their own concept of environmental hotspots which they called Important Bird & Biodiversity Areas (IBAs).
The Belum-Temengor forest complex is one of the 13,000 IBAs and 18,000 KBAs identified by BirdLife International and their allies. It is exceptionally rich in bird species with over 316 species identified so far and who knows how many more yet to be discovered. In addition, it is one of the few places in Malaysia where all 10 of the country's native hornbill species can be found. The forest complex is also a sanctuary for many large mammals including the Asian elephant and the Malayan tiger in addition to being a source of livelihood for the indigenous people there. Such is the importance of Belum-Temengor that BirdLife International has also declared it a Forest of Hope - an important site for wildlife and people that needs to be managed carefully if it is to survive.
The larges of the hornbill species - the Rhinoceros hornbill - in flight above Belum-Temengor.
Although 117,500 hectares of the complex is already protected as a State Park, the remaining two-thirds of Belum-Temengor (about 200,000 hectares) is not.
BirdLife International is one of the organisers of BRainS 2016. Their representatives will be at the summit to present their latest papers on forest management and sustainable development. We will probably also find out more about how Belum-Temengor's new status as a KBA can influence conservation efforts.
Find out more about the new KBAs here!