The Comoé Biosphere Reserve, Côte d’Ivoire
Located in north-eastern Côte d’Ivoire, near the borders of Ghana and Burkina Faso, the Comoé biosphere reserve is the largest national park in West Africa. The area of the park is 11,500 km2 and encompasses remarkable diversity of life from pristine patches of tropical rain gallery forest to closed and open savannah wood/grasslands. The Comoé Biosphere Reserve has four protected statuses:
• National Park status since 1968;
• UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1983;
• UNESCO-MAB Biosphere Reserve;
• Important Bird Areas (Biome-restricted species)
Increasing population density around the park brings up a number of problems such as poaching, illegal fishing in Comoé river, agriculture development and cattle grazing within the protected area. A number of improvements have been applied in park´s management for addressing these issues.
“I am Commandant Roger Kouadio, directing the management of the Comoé National Park.The AfriBiRds project reinforces the capacities of the agents through training and equipment and adopts a simple standardized methodology, applicable by all categories of agents and in any place. Further, it documents the observations in a database that helps us to understand evolution or trends in bird populations, to make decisions and to act, among other things, on protection, environmental education, sharing information and promotion of the park's richness.”
“I am Dr. Wadja Mathieu Egnankou, piloting AfriBiRds Ivorian activities. Birds face direct anthropogenic threats degrading their habitats when they play an important role to maintain a flourishing biodiversity and are one of its key health indicators. The AfriBiRds project builds on-site capacity to better identify the current avian biodiversity trend status and the declining cause of the population for a better definition and orientation of applied conservation strategies. ”
“I am Dr. Bernard Dibié Ahon, ornithologist from SoS Fôrets coordinating the monitoring team at the Comoé National Park. I am responsible in sensitizing local people on the conservation of migratory birds. I am training a monitoring team in identifying species and in using a mobile application for direct online recording in the field. I am finally compiling and validating the regular bird monitoring campaigns.”
The Omo Biosphere Reserve, Nigeria
The Omo Forest Reserve is located in Ijebu, Southern Nigeria, covering a total area of 1,306 km2. Omo is a home to tropical humid forests, including dry evergreen mixed deciduous forest in the north and wet evergreen forest in the south.
Omo is a home to more than 504 plant species, 42 mammals, 15 reptiles and 110 resident avian species belonging to 38 bird families. A total of 494 bird species has been recorded in the park, including five species of global conservation concern.
The Omo Reserve has three protected statuses:
• Strict Forest Reserve (4,60 km2) since 1977;
• UNESCO-MAB Biosphere Reserve since 1977;
• Important Bird Areas categorized as Biome-restricted species/ Globally threatened species with very high threat scoring
Uncontrolled natural resources harvesting for provisioning fuel wood, fodder, hunting and fishing products are the main threats altering the forest structure, species composition, genetic diversity and habitats in the Omo Reserve. Among other threats are dispersion of the human settlements, monoculture farming and desertification.
“I am Dr. Stella Egbe, ornithologist coordinating the monitoring team at the Omo Forest reserve. I am organizing field observations in the field so that it fulfils the AfriBiRds monitoring protocol and I am leading the reporting and analysis of the results as well as bird conservation awareness event for the riparian schools and communities.”
“I am Dr. Joseph Onoja, piloting AfriBiRds Nigerian activities. AfriBiRds will help us to know the population trends of species coming from Europe and species that are here all year round. This trend will help us to know if their population is increasing or decreasing. If is it increasing, we will sustain the effort; while if it is decreasing we will put measures in place to improve their welfare. Using Biosphere reserve as a location for such study will ensure that the result we are getting can be trusted.”
“I am Dr. Tayo Oyelow, directing the management of the Omo Biosphere reserve. The natural forest is the most significant for bird conservation. Omo Biosphere Reserve stands to increase avian diversity and aid plant pollination. AfriBiRds strengthens domestic and international cooperation and facilitates effective communication among the bird conservation initiates.”
AfriBiRds site selection process
The African Biosphere Reserves were surveyed in 2017 for drawing a state of the arts on bird monitoring and conservation among the UNESCO network. The selection was based on a weighted multicriteria final ranking considering survey responses. The best-scored biosphere reserves from French and English speaking countries have been selected.
More information on AfriBiRds survey and site selection can be found in the part IV of the AfriBiRds final project report available here:
AfriBiRds survey template in English
AfriBiRds survey template in French
The AfriBiRds final project report is available under this link in English from September 2019.