Conservation de la Biodiversité

Biodiversity conservation

Wetlands are one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet in terms of plant and animal species. As wetlands are being lost faster than any other ecosystem, so is their rich biodiversity. We work to preserve this richness by protecting habitats and reducing threats, and maintain the chains of wetlands necessary for migratory species. Governments, park authorities, conservation specialists and communities are our partners in this work.

The problem

African wetlands are key habitats for many endemic but also migratory species, such as the West African Manatee and hundred of species of waterbirds. The loss of one specific wetland impacts species locally, but also those using it as part of their migration route. When such links in this chain disappear, distances increase between stopover sites, where for example waterbirds rest and feed, making their migration even more exhaustive.
Many threatened wetland species are hunted by the local population for their meat, trade or they are viewed as harmful to agriculture. Instead of preserving these African wildlife treasures, they end up on the local or even international market.

What we do

We work to protect the chain of wetlands along the migration route of waterbirds: the African Eurasian flyway. In addition to protecting specific wetlands and training park rangers in the monitoring, we connect the key influencers of the wetlands along the flyway.
Through the key information from counting and assessing waterbird populations, we develop knowledge and tools for their conservation along the flyway. These are used by site managers, national governments, and even international conventions such as the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS). Read more .
In addition, we give communities in Africa alternative options for their livelihood, such as eco-guide trainings, and involve them in our monitoring work. In this way we have converted manatee hunters to conservationists [link to Manatee page], and fishermen to farmers and bird guides.
We also build networks of conservation practitioners in governments and NGOs to share the knowledge from their work, for example along the West African coast. These networks are supported by the trainings in monitoring of certain species, such as dolphins, manatees and waterbirds. This knowledge is available through a portal. Read more .
At the global level, Wetlands International Africa works with other offices to advocate for freshwater biodiversity as well as flyway conservation at the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).


Freshwater biodiversity

African biodiversity under severe threat according to the freshwater biodiversity assessment of IUCN to which Wetlands International Africa contributed. The assessment concludes that:

  • Twenty one percent of all species assessed are threatened within Africa.
  • Ninety one percent of these species (4,539) are endemic to the continent and are, therefore, also globally threatened.
  • This level of threat is relatively high in comparison to other taxonomic groups in Africa (12% of birds, 19% of mammals, and 26% of amphibians are threatened)
  • This level of threat is predicted to increase dramatically unless the ecological requirements of freshwater species are given much greater consideration in future development planning, in particular for development of water resources.
  • Major threats are identified as loss and degradation of habitat associated with deforestation, agriculture and infrastructure development, unsustainable levels of water extraction, water pollution from domestic industrial and agricultural sources, the introduction of alien invasive species, sedimentation, mining and subsistence use and trade.

Read more on the IUCN website: The Diversity of Life in African Freshwaters: Under Water, Under Threat.

Critical Waterbird Sites

Click to access the online Critical Site Network Tool