Agriculture and forestry are key drivers of habitat destruction in African IBAs

Intensive Farming, © BirdLife International

In Africa, habitat clearance for agriculture and logging threatens 72% and 79% of Important Birds and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) respectively.

Proportion of IBAs impacted by different classes of threats in Africa and Europe
Analysis of data held in BirdLife’s World Bird Database (2004)

Habitat change, including conversion to agricultural land and deforestation, has been identified as one of the five direct drivers for biodiversity loss. As of 2017, Africa has 1,247 Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs), 503 of which have been assessed for the threats that they face (see figure). Of these, the two main threats are agricultural expansion and intensification and biological resource use, particularly logging, which affect 72% and 79% of African IBAs respectively. The IBAs most vulnerable to logging are those containing dense forest and shrubs, although these are also the IBAs that have the highest degree of overlap with protected areas due to their importance for threatened and endemic species. Buchanan et al. (2009) determined that 57% of African IBAs are overlapped by or within a protected area. However, this leaves at least 43% of African IBAs without any type of formal protection from key threats like agricultural intensification and logging.

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Buchanan, G. M., Donald, P. F., Fishpool, L. D., Arinaitwe, J. A., Balman, M., & Mayaux, P. (2009). An assessment of land cover and threats in Important Bird Areas in Africa. Bird Conservation International, 19(01), 49-61.

Compiled: 2004    Last updated: 2017   

Recommended Citation:
BirdLife International (2017) Agriculture and forestry are key drivers of habitat destruction in African IBAs. Downloaded from on 03/12/2023