Wonderpus octopus - Jü̈rgen Freund, WWF
Proposing KBAs for species and ecosystems
In order to propose KBAs for species there is a need to compile both data on the global population of a species (which can be assessed by various assessment parameters which include: number of mature individuals or by proxy measures such as area of occurrence, extent of suitable habitat, range or number of localities) as well as the site population (using the same assessment parameter). The World Database of KBAs draws upon the IUCN Red List of Threatened species for the range area and often also for population data for a species.
Proposers can assess sites of interest against the KBA criteria using the different assessment parameters, or can scope likely sites for a species that will meet the KBA threshold amounts for the population in the country where they live or work. It is important to ensure the species is actually present at a proposed KBA and many of the criteria require a number of reproductive units to be confirmed as present to meet the KBA status. Field visits to a site are often necessary to ensure this is documented. Providing information on species surveys to KBA proposers or KBA National Coordination Groups (KBA NCG) will help them better know what species are present at sites in their country, so anyone collecting data on species distributions in a country are encouraged to share their data with their KBA NCG.
In order to propose KBAs for ecosystems it is important to have mapped the global extent of an ecosystem (for threatened or geographically restricted ecosystems) or to have scoped the most intact parts of an ecoregion of interest (sites of ecological integrity).
Ecosystem maps need to be developed for large parts of the world as few maps exist that map ecosystems consistently across large regions. The IUCN Red List of Ecosystems is where people can get engaged in mapping and red listing ecosystems and we would encourage people with interests in identifying KBAs for ecosystems to engage with this team to map ecosystems and then work to identify KBAs that would conserve the ecosystem.
Criterion C sites are identified within each ecoregion and require data on the levels of intactness of a site – faunal/floral integrity as well as minimal human impact. People who know an ecoregion well can propose sites that might meet KBA status under Criterion C by presenting the best options to meet ecological integrity for that ecoregion.