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Conservation organisations using KBAs to protect plants, animal habitats

A Conservation organization worldwide is assigning ecologies – Key Biodiversity Areas (KBA) – to unique species to protect plants and animal habitats. KBAs are sites like forests, parks, mangroves, deserts, freshwater, and marine ecosystems that contribute significantly to global biodiversity.

Identifying KBAs will help educate people on the need to protect the sites and different species due to the critical role they play in humans’ existence-providing clean air, medicines, and food. Mapping these sites globally, and providing information about the wildlife living there will help private industry, governments, and other stakeholders to make the best decisions about how to manage land waters.

Mr. Joseph Afrifa, Officer in Charge of KBA at Wildlife Society Ghana, told the Ghana NewsAgency on the sidelines of training on Key Biodiversity Areas in Accra that the initiative would also help decision-makers to protect the sites due to their unique value nationally and globally. Already, nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history – and the rate of species extinctions is accelerating, with grave impacts on people around the world, a landmark new report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and ecosystem services, warned.
In Ghana, Mr Afrifa said, two forest reserves: Ankasa Resource Reserve – Nini-SushienNational Park and Atewa Range Forest Reserve had been classified as KBAs because of some unique species found in those areas.
Atewa is a KBA because the entire population of the critically endangered “Afia Birago’sPuddle Frog” can be found only at that site.
Ankasa Resource Reserve – Nini-Sushien National Park also has a KBA status because the entire population of another critically endangered Puddle Frog can be found only there.
Mr Afrifa said the sites were identified nationally using globally standardized criteria and thresholds.
Once identified, he explained, the sites needed to be monitored to check that values that made them KBAs were maintained.
“This will involve assessing threats to the sites and species as well as monitoring populations of species or extent of ecosystems,” he said.
Ms Jacqueline Mbawine, the Monitoring, and Evaluation and Planning Manager of A RochaGhana, said KBAs were critical to mitigating the impact of climate change- increase in temperature, floods, sea-level rise, and long-drought-spell.
She explained that maintaining the stock of trees and growing more could help attain the global goal of reducing rising temperatures below 1.5 degrees by absorbing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Ms Mbawine called for the need to enforce environmental policies, especially those governing ecosystems because human survival depended on them.
To date, more than 16,000 KBAs worldwide have been earmarked, safeguarding important populations of more than 13,100 species of conservation concern.

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