Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs)

Key Biodiversity Areas are sites contributing significantly to the global persistence of biodiversity, both in terrestrial, freshwater, marine and underground systems, and are identified based on internationally accepted scientific criteria. KBAs are indicators for CBD Aichi Targets 11 and 12 (Aichi Goals 2011-2020) as well as for SDGs 14 and 15.

Check-out the KBA Project Story Map here and the KBA Atlas here.

Identification of KBAs is an ongoing task, requires data and therefore funding for fieldwork and assessments. Help us support the Government on identifying more KBAs.

The project had the following objectives:

  • Establish the National Coordination Group (NCG) for the Key Biodiversity Areas, the Red List of threatened Species and Ecosystems and promote its use in spatial planning and decision-making;
  • Conduct global Red List assessments for endemic and near-endemic species of amphibians, reptiles, freshwater fish, butterflies and ecosystems
  • Identify and map KBAs according to the 2016 IUCN’s Global Standards;
  • Build national capacity to identify, prevent and mitigate impacts on priority biodiversity (threatened species and ecosystems and KBAs).

Mozambique has a notable abundance of natural resources and biodiversity which are vital pillars for the country’s development. The Mozambican population, especially the rural one, depends on biodiversity and ecosystem services for their livelihoods. However, the ongoing overexploitation of biodiversity and habitat loss, accelerated by pollution, alongside with the introduction of exotic species and the effects from climate change, has led to the degradation of the country’s unique species and ecosystems.

The Mozambican State is committed to preserving its biodiversity through adherence to various international agreements and conventions. In 2016, a participative process that lasted several years and included academia and some of the world’s leading nature conservation organizations, including the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), led to the establishment of the KBA Partnership, which promoted the identification, documentation and protection of KBAs. That same year the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) published its Gold Standard for KBAs.

In February 2019, WCS (as one of the government’s main conservation partners, and with support from SPEED+, a USAID project) stablished a partnership with the Ministry of Land and Environment (MTA), through the National Directorate of Environment to develop an innovative project that would identify IUCN Red List data on threatened species and map Key Biodiversity Areas in Mozambique.

Project’s main results:

  • This was the first initiative worldwide to conduct a comprehensive national KBA assessment, applying the 2016 Global Standard to a whole range of biological groups (insects, freshwater fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals, plants, ecosystems and marine biodiversity);
  • The project also expanded capacity-building, with 130 technicians trained to identify KBAs and assess Red Lists; 8 young Mozambican biologists trained to organize data and conduct Red List and KBA assessments;
  • 29 KBAs were identified and delineated, covering a total area of about 139.947,05 km2, with 25 (86%) covering an area of 134.019,16 km2 in land and 4 (14%) occupying 5.927.89 km2 in the marine environment. The terrestrial KBAs occupy 17% of Mozambique’s continental territory and the marine 1% of the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ);
  • 67 species of fauna were assessed, 47% of which are at risk of extinction, and conservation initiatives are necessary to reverse this trend;
  • Mapping of Mozambique’s historical ecosystems, including a first exercise to run a Red List assessment of terrestrial ecosystems;
  • Government is integrating KBAs into its National Plan for Territorial Development, as well as its Marine Spatial Plan, as areas to be preserved;
  • Guidelines on “Business and KBAs: Managing Risk to Biodiversity”, translated into Portuguese. These identify good environmental practices that development projects must follow when implemented in or around KBAs.

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