IITA Forest Center kicks off a new project to promote bird and forest conservation
IITA has commenced a project titled “Enhancing bird and forest conservation at the interface of agriculture and urbanization in south-western Nigeria” in support of the System Level Outcome of sustainable natural resource management.
The 1-year project, with an option of a 2-year extension, is a continuation of the just concluded project, “Establishing ontological monitoring center in south-west Nigeria”, both funded by the AG Leventis Foundation. The project is designed to promote a balance between agricultural and research activities and preserve natural environments amidst the increasing population in south-western Nigeria. The project emphasizes the need to engage in farming and research processes without endangering biodiversity.
According to the project manager, Adewale Awoyemi, “Unsustainable farming and expanding urbanization are two major threats confronting biodiversity globally. The prime interests have always been to maintain the integrity of natural areas and restore degraded habitats. In addition, recent advances in conservation biology have also shown that urban areas and farmlands can still support substantial biodiversity if well-planned”, he said.
The new project focuses on bird monitoring, forest restoration, environmental education, and strengthening outreaches, research collaboration, and students. “We will promote sustainable farming, investigate the impacts of urbanization on birds, restore degraded areas of the IITA Forest Reserve with native tree species, and raise public awareness about these activities to achieve the objectives of the new project,” Awoyemi added.
Birdlife International designates the IITA Forest Reserve (c. 350 ha), Ibadan as an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area due to the presence of 67 unique Guineo-Congolian bird species. The forest supports over 450 plant species, 272 birds, 236 butterflies, 48 mammals, and 28 reptiles.