Waders of the Bijagós
Securing the ecological integrity of the Bijagos archipelago as a key site for waders along the East Atlantic Flyway
Our planet is a highly connected ecosystem, and the most amazing global connectors of our natural world are the long-distance migrating shorebirds that depend on successful breeding in the northernmost land on Earth and rely for their survival on the rare suitable and often small coastal areas along the margins of continental landmasses. The ways in which these global connections are patterned across the globe have been termed ‘flyways’, and among the world’s six major flyways, it is the East Atlantic Flyway (EAF) that bridges the tundras of northeastern Arctic Canada, Greenland, northernmost Europe, European Russia and the western half of Siberia with the coasts of western Europe and western Africa as far south as Cape Town. Within this flyway system, three areas stand out for their unique importance as recipients of the tundra natives outside the breeding season: (1) the international Wadden Sea - shared by Denmark, Germany and The Netherlands, (2) the Banc d’Arguin in Mauritania, and (3) the Bijagos Archipelago in Guinea-Bissau.
(1) promote the importance of the Bijagos archipelago within the framework of the EAF, through developing international level applied ecological research (specifically by improving knowledge on wintering shorebirds (or waders); ecosystem processes including trophic interaction between key species; and unravel habitat interactions) in order to support ongoing conservation efforts;
(2) develop local capacity for research and monitoring within conservation organizations (both governmental and NGOs) and create opportunities to train young students at undergrad and post-graduate levels;
(3) improve public awareness (local, national and international) and advocate for the conservation of migratory coastal birds and wetlands which are crucial for local livelihoods;
(4) provide equipment and develop existing infrastructure to support applied conservation efforts (e.g. patrolling) and provide scientific support towards the creation and/or implementation of management plans.
Project Coordinator: Instituto da Biodiversidade e Áreas Protegidas (IBAP), Guinea-Bissau.
Project Partners: FCiências.ID (University of Lisbon, Portugal)
University of Aveiro (Portugal)
Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ, The Netherlands)
University of Groningen (The Netherlands)
Tiniguena - Esta Terra é Nossa (Guinea-Bissau)
Organização para a Defesa e o Desenvolvimento das Zonas Humidas (ODZH, Guinea-Bissau)
MAVA Foundation. Switzerland. Project reference: 17166