Viewed 1908 times.
Last modified Apr 05, 2011
610-666-5593 ext. 106
Log in to see email
Brian is Important Bird Area Coordinator, southeast region for Audubon Pennsylvania.
Kim Van Fleet
Log in to see email
Kim is Important Bird Area Coordinator, central region for Audubon Pennsylvania.
Log in to see email
Sarah is Important Bird Area Coordinator, northwest region for Audubon Pennsylvania.
Featured Library Items
This site was created as a place to learn about Pennsylvania’s trees, how to care for them, and tap into tree expertise across the Commonwealth. It is designed to help answer many of your questions.
The ABC's of Avoiding Bird Collisions at Communications Towers: The Next Steps
This paper reviews the known and suspected causes of bird collisions with communication towers, assesses gaps in our information base, discusses what is being done to fill those gaps, reviews avian vulnerability to collisions with tall structures, and reviews the role of the U.S. Fish and Wildlif...
Pennsylvania Ecotourism: Untapped Potential
This guide provides a variety of resources and ideas to establish local ecotourism. Use it to enhance the economy while identifying, teaching, sharing, and preserving unique natural areas that make communities special.
Important Bird Areas Program, National Audubon Society
This website describes the work, activities, and programs of the National Audubon Society.
IBA Conservation Plans
This site includes all completed IBA conservation plans in Pennsylvania, along with land cover and wetland maps, and IBA acreage statistics.
Important Bird Areas (IBA) Brochure
This two-page brochure gives a brief overview of the IBA program in the United States, including achievements of the program nationwide.
Height, Guy Wires, and Steady-burning Lights Increase Hazard of Communication Towers to Nocturnal Migrants: A Review and Meta-analysis
Communication towers in North America kill millions of birds annually, and most of these are Neotropical species that migrate at night. This paper reviews and analyzes the literature on the features of towers that can be regulated, particularly tower design and placement, to provide a scientific...
Sustainable Forestry Fact Sheet
Two-page fact sheet about sustainable forestry for the benefit of birds and other wildlife. Information covers selective cutting, stewardship practices, composition of forest for nesting birds and forest health, and implementation tips.
Managing Deer for Ecosystem Health Fact Sheet
Two-page deer management guide for landowners including information on predator-prey balance and tools and options available to private landholders.
Planning for Grassland Birds Fact Sheet
Two-page fact sheet for landowners, planners, and others to maintain grassland birds, which have declined in recent years. Information covers causes of decline, importance of agricultural lands, amount of land needed for nesting, and what landowners and planners can do to help.
Protecting Against Woolly Hemlock Adelgid Fact Sheet
Two-page fact sheet on this aphid-like creature that feeds on hemlock trees. Information includes a description of the pest, its life history, and what landowners can do to help control and eliminate the woolly hemlock adelgid.
Exotic Invasive Vines Fact Sheet
Two-page fact sheet that includes a description of invasive vines; how they are introduced to an area; why they are a threat to forests, birds, and other wildlife; invasive vines in Pennsylvania; their impact on the ecology of natural areas; how landowners can control and eliminate them; and nati...
Game Commission Wind Energy Web Page
Game Commission web page with wind energy resources, including the second wind energy summary report through June 2010.
Brian Byrnes, John Rogers and Phil Wallis were the authors.
Nothing contained in this or any other document available at ConservationTools.org is intended to be relied upon as legal advice. The authors disclaim any attorney-client relationship with anyone to whom this document is furnished. Nothing contained in this document is intended to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to any person any transaction or matter addressed in this document.
Copyright © is held by the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
Text may be excerpted and reproduced with acknowledgement of ConservationTools.org and the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association.
Important Bird Areas, or IBAs, provide essential habitat for birds. The National Audubon Society identifies Important Bird Areas across the United States as part of the Society’s work to conserve critical sites for bird conservation.
Important Bird Areas provide essential habitat for one or more species of bird, including sites for breeding, wintering, and/or migrating birds. IBAs may be a few acres or thousands of acres. IBAs may include public or private lands, or both, and they may be protected or unprotected. To be designated, an IBA must meet at least one of several objective criteria.
Once designated, the National Audubon Society works with partner organizations, including its local chapters, to develop and implement IBA conservation plans. Plan activities vary from IBA to IBA and can include bird monitoring, habitat restoration, land protection, and proposing changes to municipal land use policies.
IBA designation does not confer regulatory or other protection to the identified area. It simply recognizes an area as having outstanding value to bird conservation. Designations help conservation organizations and governments to better prioritize their conservation activities.
The Important Bird Area program has been in use since the 1980s and has been established in over 200 countries and 10,000 designated sites. The program started in the U.S. during the mid-1990’s when Pennsylvania became the first state to designate IBAs. As of April 2009, Pennsylvania has 85 designated IBAs. Audubon and its partners have used the IBA designation to leverage support of additional land conservation, habitat protection and scientific research.
Typical End Users
- National Audubon Society (through its state office, Audubon Pennsylvania) designates Important Bird Areas.
- Any individual or group can nominate an IBA or serve as a stewardship adoption group to implement conservation projects in IBAs.
- Non-profit organizations can use the designation to advance conservation planning and implementation.
- Local or county governments can use the designation as a component of their natural resource management plans and use open space funding to implement protection of IBAs.
- Public designation and recognition by an international conservation program adds credibility to conservation efforts.
- Conservation planning utility for local, county and state governments.
What You'll Need
- Data to support claims that the site meets Pennsylvania IBA criteria.
- Preferably, a group with a commitment to help steward the site into the future.
Obstacles and Challenges
- In designating an IBA, the largest challenge is gathering and organizing the data and ensuring that the site meets the criteria.
- In conserving an IBA, the challenges are varied, including protecting private lands, and improving land management and land use planning on public and private lands.
The Important Bird Area (IBA) program was started by BirdLife International in the 1980’s to help answer a pivotal question for bird conservationists: How can nonprofits and governments be expected to protect bird species and populations if they don’t know where the most critical sites for bird conservation are? The IBA program was designed to help groups of all kinds in prioritizing their conservation efforts and focusing their limited resources on the most vital sites.
There are no legal or regulatory restrictions associated with IBA designation, so it is not appropriate to seek IBA status as a means of seeking governmental approvals or stopping a proposed development. IBAs may contain public or private land, be protected or unprotected, large or small; the common thread among all IBAs is that they are vital to at least one bird species during some portion of their annual life cycle. In the United States, each state IBA program develops its own criteria for IBA status, working within a general framework laid out by BirdLife International. In Pennsylvania these criteria were developed by the Ornithological Technical Committee of the Pennsylvania Biological Survey, the same committee that now evaluates site nominations. See discussion of criteria in “Nomination” section below.
Once an IBA is designated, Audubon may work with local partner organizations, municipal governments or interested individuals towards the conservation of the site. Typically, Audubon will undertake conservation planning activities to inventory and prioritize the conservation actions needed on-site. See “Implementation” below for more details.
Often Audubon and its partner organizations will utilize other tools described elsewhere on this site to accomplish its conservation objectives within IBAs. These tools include land protection by conservation easement, land acquisition in fee-simple, municipal land use and zoning ordinances, and best management practices for various habitat types (e.g. sustainable forestry techniques).