Africa's rich biodiversity provides critical ecosystem services. It contributes substantially to the continent’s economy and serves as a buffer to climate change. However, the continent is experiencing a dramatic loss of biodiversity even before we have been able to fully identify, document and enjoy the benefits of these natural resources.
Biodiversity loss affects livelihoods and lessens resilience to extreme events, particularly for people in rural areas who are often the poorest. Integrating biodiversity into decision-making is a key strategy for mitigating these losses, and availability of relevant data is critical for informed decision-making.
Focusing on birds, which are excellent indicators of general environmental health, the African Bird Atlas Project (ABAP)—a well-established citizen science project—is designed to capture bird distributional data across wide spatial scales. It is exceptional in its ability to report biodiversity changes in real time and thus provide researchers and decision-makers with current information.
Country-level projects have been running successfully in southern Africa since 2007, and there has been a concerted effort to expand coverage to East and West Africa in the last 7 years. The current project seeks to mobilize and strengthen collaborative data management among ongoing national projects across the continent to establish an up-to-date distributional database for Africa's birds with valued input from Citizen Scientists – volunteer members of the public who are keen to contribute through going birding and submitting their observations to the ABAP.
If you are at all interested in watching birds, have any concern for the conservation of Africa’s birds, and enjoy being outside and exploring new places, then the African Bird Atlas is the project for you! An important part of our activities is done through the various organisations and Bird Clubs in respective countries, contacts to country representatives will be found under Contacts!
To participate you can register here or by sending your details; name, telephone number, address, and email to Ulf Ottosson, email: email@example.com or your own country representative. You will receive an Observer Number and password allowing you to log in to the Project. Your login details will also allow you access to the Animal Demography Unit’s Virtual Museum (http://vmus.adu.org.za) which enables you to help with the mapping of 1000s of other species.
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