Forest Center continues to champion ecology awareness with IBA monitoring workshop
“Not many people are aware that IITA does not only lead in agricultural research for development but is also committed to the preservation of natural resources, habitat protection, and biodiversity conservation, which we are very proud of today,” said Professor Shiiwua Manu, Director of the AP Leventis Ornithological Research Institute (APLORI) at the University of Jos, Nigeria. He made the remarks during the Important Bird Area (IBA) Monitoring Workshop organized by the AG Leventis-funded IITA Forest Center, on 26–28 June.
The workshop, with the theme “Field techniques in forest bird ecology,” convened researchers, ornithologists, and resource persons from APLORI; members of the Ibadan Bird Club, School Conservation Clubs, and Nigeria Bird Atlas Project; conservation partners and rangers from the Emerald Forest Reserve and Okomu National Park; and students and lecturers from the University of Ibadan and Ekiti State University, Nigeria.
The workshop created awareness and provided an opportunity for participants to gain first-hand experience in ornithological field techniques. Apart from learning how vegetation variables influence the distribution of birds, participants also acquired skills on how to map bird distribution through the BirdLasser App, which is connected to the Nigeria Bird Atlas Project.
There were presentations during the indoor session led by Adewale Awoyemi, IITA Forest Center Manager, who explained about the conservation initiatives of IITA such as reforestation, biodiversity monitoring, capacity building, and awareness creation. Professor Manu consolidated the practical session on bird census techniques, Dr Talatu Tende explained how to map bird distribution, whereas Dr Jacob Orimaye presented on the activities of the Nigeria Southwest Atlas Team (a subgroup of the Nigeria Bird Atlas Project).
In concluding the meeting, Hilde Koper-Limbourg, IITA Deputy Director General, Corporate Services, presented certificates to all participants and wished them well as they implement the skills acquired during the workshop.
The IITA campus in Ibadan is one of the hotspots for birdwatching in Nigeria, holding over 270 bird species. The approximately 350-ha forest within the campus is reserved for conservation purposes and holds 67 bird species, including birds of conservation concern, Ibadan Malimbe (Malimbus ibadanensis) and Baumann’s Greenbul (Phyllastrephus baumanni). This qualifies it as an IBA.