Tim Stowe, the RSPB’s director of international operations, said: “We are seeing the impact of European renewable fuel targets first hand with our work in Kenya. The Tana River Delta and the Dakatcha Woodlands are both hugely important areas for wildlife and they are currently at risk from irresponsible and unsustainable biofuel plantations.
Amboseli National Park lies immediately north-west of Mount Kilimanjaro, on the border with Tanzania. It has been identified as an Important Bird Area, and has a rich avian fauna with over 400 bird species recorded, including over 40 birds of prey including Vulnerable Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni which uses the site during its migration period.
Amboseli National Park is surrounded by six communally-owned group ranches that are wet-season dispersal areas for wildlife, and whose management has direct influence on the ecological stability of the park.
The Wattled Crane Bugeranus carunculatus is the most severely threatened crane on the African continent. Recent surveys in Botswana, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia, countries long thought to be strongholds for the Wattled Crane, show that the global population is only half of what has been reported in recent years. Some of the greatest losses have occurred in South Africa, where a 38% decline between 1980 and 2000 left the national population Critically Endangered.
For biofuels in particular, the pressure on land is mounting in Africa and European governments, including our own are not able to identify good sources from bad – a fundemental flaw in policy that risks a wave of damaging landuse change.
Collectively termed the Eastern Afromontane Biodiversity Hotspot, the region covers a total area of more than one million km2 across sixteen countries and is made up of three ancient massifs: the Eastern Arc Mountains and Southern Rift, the Albertine Rift, and the Ethiopian Highlands.
Field work carried out in 2009 and 2010 with support from BirdLife International, RSPB, CEPA and Chester Zoo strongly suggests that a major population crash is underway. Compared with 2001, sighting rates in April-May 2009 had dropped by about 38%; repeated counts done in September-December 2009 and May-July 2010 showed even larger decreases, approaching 80%. This means that the global population of the apalis might now be reduced to only 60-130 individuals, almost all of which are located in a single forest, Ngangao, which is only about 120 ha.
The road will be funded by the Tanzanian Government and the section from Serengeti to Musoma is estimated to cost £144 million. The Government has contracted two companies - one Indian and the other based in Tanzania - to jointly undertake an Environment and Social Impact Assessment, which we believe is to be completed before the end of the year. If the project is given the go-ahead then construction is likely to start at the beginning of 2012.
Zino’s Petrel Pterodroma madeira is Europe’s rarest seabird and one of the rarest birds in the world, nesting only on a few mountain ledges in the rugged central massif of Madeira island. Once on the edge of extinction with numbers down to a few tens of pairs, intense conservation action over the past 20 years, led by the Natural Park of Madeira (Parque Natural da Madeira - PNM) with support from SPEA, the Freira Conservation Project and Funchal Municipal Museum, has seen its population grow to almost 80 pairs.
"This appears to indicate that the full 50,000 hectare project is still under consideration for conversion to biofuel plantations", remarked Paul Matiku - Executive Director NatureKenya (BirdLife Partner).
The tracking of its incredible 3,000-mile odyssey was made possible by using a tiny "data logger" locator device fitted to the bird which has lifted the curtain on one of wildlife's great enigmas: where exactly do our migrant birds go in the winter? The discovery is likely to prove vital in finding out why many of these species, such as spotted flycatchers, wood warblers and whinchats, have begun to decline sharply in Britain and Europe, as it may be on their African wintering grounds that they are running into trouble.