IMPORTANT BIRD AREAS OF MAHARASHTRA is an extension of a major publication, IMPORTANT BIRD AREAS IN INDIA describing 466 IBAs, published in 2004 by BNHS, IBCN, BirdLife International and OUP. It provides updated scientific information on 20 Important Bird Areas which need conservation attention. It also contains information on seven additional sites which have been identified as IBAs using the global IBA criteria set by BirdLife International, UK for the purpose. The book provides maps of 20 IBAs and is well illustrated with many photographs of birds and their habitats. It is written by four field scientists and is a collaborative effort of BNHS, IBCN, WECS, Nagpur Birds, BirdLife International, and RSPB.
We hope that the book will be useful to government agencies like the forest department, conservationists, researches, and birdwatchers alike. It can be used as an advocacy tool for the protection of IBAs.
Asad R. Rahmani is the Director of the Bombay Natural History Society since 1997. He joined BNHS in 1980 and worked as Principal Scientist in various projects. In 1991, he joined the Department of Wildlife Science, Aligarh Muslim University, where he worked for six years. In 1997, he rejoined BNHS as Director. He has written more than 150 peer-reviewed research papers in national and international journals, eight books, and numerous popular articles and book reviews.
M. Zafar-ul Islam is a field biologist with strong interest in international wildlife conservation. His main research is on ecology and biology of globally threatened species such as Houbara, Arabian Leopard, Arabian Oryx, Sand and Mountain Gazelles and threatened birds found in India. He published nine books with BNHS and BirdLife International.
Raju Kasambe started birdwatching in 1997 in Amravati. He was awarded M. Phil. for his research on butterflies and a doctorate for his research on the "Ecology and breeding behaviour of Indian Grey Hornbill". He has more than 100 publications on birds and butterflies to his credit. He has published a book on the Indian Grey Hornbill and another book in Marathi Maharashtratil Phulapakhare (Butterflies of Maharashtra). After working as a Medical Representative for 18 years he opted for voluntary retirement. In 2010, he joined BNHS as Project Manager of the IBA Programme. He is the Assistant Editor of the quarterly newsletter Mistnet published by IBCN-BNHS.
Jayant Wadatkar started birdwatching in 1997. He was awarded a doctorate on "Butterflies of the Satpudas". He has authored three books in Marathi: Satpudyateel Kille (Forts of the Satpudas), Sapanche Adbhut Vishwa (about snakes) and Sagarmathyachya Paythyashi (about his adventurous trip to Mount Everest Base Camp). He has more than 20 research papers on birds and butterflies to his credit. He works in Sant Gadge Baba Amravati University, Amravati and is the Honorary Wildlife Warden of Amravati district. He is also the State Coordinator of Indian Bird Conservation Network (IBCN) for the Vidarbha region, Maharashtra. He is the Honorary Secretary of Wildlife and Environment Conservation Society (WECS), Amravati, Maharashtra.
BirdLife International is a conservation organization with Partners in more than 100 countries. BirdLife's main strength is its collaborative work all over the world with its Partners. In India, BNHS has been a BirdLife Partner for more than a decade.
Identification and protection of Important Bird Areas (IBAs), sometimes called Key Biodiversity Areas, is one the largest and most successful programmes of BirdLife International. Till now more than 12,000 IBAs have been identified worldwide. The inventory of IBAs was done in each country by the respective BirdLife Partner. In India, BNHS along with its members and supporters had identified 466 IBAs, perhaps the largest number in any country. Birds are considered as good indicators of good biodiversity sites. As the name suggests, IBAs are identified based on their avian diversity as the main criteria, but almost all IBAs are good sites for protection of other taxa. IBAs are now increasingly being recognized by various governments as sites of high biodiversity importance, or Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs).
Many protected areas in India (and probably elsewhere) were not selected or prioritised according to biodiversity criteria (except for tiger reserves), which is why some very high biodiversity areas have been left out, while not so important areas or areas with huge human presence have been included in the Protected Area system. The IBA process is rigorous and scientific, and only those areas get selected that fulfill global IBA criteria. The selection of IBAs is also a dynamic process and new IBAs are added, while some are deleted, if due to any reason they fail to fulfill IBA criteria any longer.
As our main IBA inventory is a large, bulky (1133 pages) and costly (Rs. 3,000) volume, it is not easily accessible to decision makers, researchers, and students. Therefore, we decided to publish statewise IBA inventories. The first such book was brought out by Sikkim, the second by Uttar Pradesh, the third by Jammu & Kashmir and this is the fourth one.
Besides describing the 20 existing IBAs of Maharashtra, this book also proposes seven new sites for inclusion as IBAs. We are sure there are more sites that may qualify for IBA criteria, but we need more information on such sites and their avifaunal diversity. The site accounts have been corrected and updated since the first publication in 2004. That did not have polygonal maps, which have been done. New pictures of birds and habitats have been included.
With its low price and easy accessibility in the State, it is hoped that this book will be used by forest officers, decision makers, researchers, and birdwatchers for the protection of important biodiversity sites. With increasing interest in birdwatching, IBA books are good guides for travellers too. If better protection is ultimately given to birds and other wildlife, and their habitats, the purpose of this book will be served.
This book from BNHS (Bombay Natural History Society), titled "Important Bird Areas in Maharashtra: Priority Sites for Conservation" presents a much needed inventory of the important bird habitats of Maharashtra. It provides comprehensive and up-to-date scientific information on 20 important sites in this State that badly need conservation attention. It also contains useful information on seven additional sites that have been identified using the global IBA criteria of BirdLife International, UK.
BNHS has, over the last few years, published a series of books that provide state-wise inventories of IBAs. The present book is the fourth in the series; the earlier ones being Sikkim, Uttar Pradesh, and Jammu & Kashmir. It is well illustrated, with maps of all the 20 IBAs and many beautiful photographs of birds and their habitats.
It is jointly published by BNHS, Wildlife & Environment Conservation Society, Amravati and Oxford University Press.
Maharashtra is the stronghold of the Indian Bird Conservation Network. Many IBCN and BNHS members have contributed both information and beautiful photographs for the book, which are much appreciated. We are also most grateful to the Nagpur Birds website, created by Dr. Tarique Sani and Ms Swati Sani, for the financial help so graciously provided for bringing out the book. We would also like to acknowledge the unstinted support BNHS receives from RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds), UK and BirdLife International for several of our projects, including the Important Bird Areas Programme.
I am sure the book, which is very reasonably priced and will be easily available in Maharashtra, will prove to be extremely useful to government agencies like the Forest Department, conservationists, researchers, and birdwatchers. In order to reach a wider audience, we plan to publish a Marathi edition of this book very soon. It will, I am sure, be a valuable addition for collectors of books on the rich birdlife of this region.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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