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Lady’s Island Lake. Picture by Alyn Walsh

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Important Bird Areas

The Important Bird Areas (IBA) Programme is a BirdLife International initiative aimed at identifying and protecting a network of critical sites for the conservation of the world’s birds.  In 2000, Important Bird Areas in Europe (Heath and Evans 2000) was published.  It presents information on over 3,600 sites.

A total of 140 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) have been identified in Ireland, covering an area of about 4,309 km², equivalent to 6% of the land area. Most of these IBAs are coastal, with islands and cliffs being predominantly important for breeding seabirds, Corncrakes and wintering Barnacle Geese, and estuaries for wintering wildfowl.

There has been considerable interest in the Heath and Evans (2000) publication within Ireland, and it was considered that publication of the chapter on the Republic of Ireland as a standalone would be beneficial in promoting awareness of IBAs in Ireland.  Most of the material has been extracted from Heath and Evans (2000). It presents essential information on all known sites of international importance for the conservation of birds in Ireland, and is targeted at a number of audiences, including decision-makers and policy-makers, conservationists, land-use planners and regulators, birdwatchers and ornithologists and academic and research bodies.  

Click here for further details about the Important Bird Area programme.

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