January 10, 2010 by dyertrust

The environment in which we live and on which we depend is undergoing rapid modification because of changes in global climate and because of land-transforming human activities. Our ability to weather these changes depends on our capacity to detect the first signs of them.

From cranes to korhaans to queleas, this new booklet describes how monitoring and research on birds can provide us with the early warning signs that we need. And there are many such signs in South Africa: numbers of African Penguins plummet; Red-billed Queleas, the "feathered locust", invade new areas; and Southern Black Korhaans disappear from places where they were plentiful 20 years ago.

Many of the findings in the booklet are based on data collected for scientific programmes by trained members of the public. By recording and counting birds at particular places and specific times of the year, these "citizen scientists" are helping scientists to build a jigsaw puzzle of our biodiversity. The booklet contains some of the first comparisons made between SABAP1 and SABAP2.

This 16-page illustrated booklet, downloadable athttp://www.dict.org.za/blogs/2011/09/booklet.jpg, was produced by the
South African National Biodiversity Institute and the Animal Demography Unit, with financial support from the Danish Government. Delegates to the United Nations conference on climate change in Copenhagen later in the month will receive a copy. It is of especial interest to conservationists, teachers, politicians and farmers but should really be made compulsory reading for all citizens.