Capacity building for citizen science and ecological restoration of Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in Bhutan
Capacity building for citizen science and ecological restoration of Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in Bhutan
In recent years, bird watching has picked up in Bhutan with more citizens getting into watching birds. As well as, annually Bhutan receives thousands of tourists for bird watching. It is the right time to venture in scientifically documenting bird data as a centralized database in a reliable form. Due to lack of proper knowledge in collecting and reporting of bird data by citizens and also not having centralized documentation of bird data in Bhutan, many valuable information keys to individual bird species and associated environment are getting lost. For example, many of the bird watchers are sort to form group in social media in exchanging bird information that is having very thin reliable platform. The information gathered at the moment will be a key indicator of our environment and in the future demand of such data will increasingly feel for the nation or scientific world. Therefore, there is the urgency in building a reliable centralized database of birds for the country to understand the biodiversity pattern and trend and formulating any environmental conservation strategies.
The lack of a centralized database of birds for the country has also resulted in misinformation of bird lists recorded of Bhutan maintained by different organizations. As per the bird data zone of Bhutan maintained by Birdlife International, Bhutan has recorded only 667 bird species, whereas, many organizations in Bhutan and bird watchers here have already claimed more than 700 bird list sightings for Bhutan. Therefore, even much of the globally threatened bird species found in Bhutan are not included for the conservation work plans. This critical information gap is due to lack of reliable bird database maintained in the country with often new sightings of bird species that were not scientifically communicated and documented. Through this project, Bhutan Birdlife Society is committed in enhancing citizen science capacity to monitor birds and building a reliable database of birds for the country. Each bird species will be documented in the central database. This will help in monitoring individual bird species of the country. It will also benefit in setting conservation priority for each bird species and associated key biodiversity areas in the country.
This project will be crucial in reviving and restoring the Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas(IBAs) identified in Bhutan. Birdlife International has identified 23 IBAs in Bhutan and this form important component of key Biodiversity Area (KBA), the recently developed concept of recognizing rich biodiversity areas. IBAs are sites of international biodiversity conservation importance, chosen using agreed, objective, quantitative and scientifically defensible criteria. The results of assessment finding of IBAs should feed directly into the management. There is no record of monitoring and assessment of these areas carried out since the identification of the areas in Bhutan. From the informal consultation carried out by the society with the local communities residing near the IBAs and bird watchers, many of the IBAs are at the verge of degradation with significant decline in habitat and bird observations from the area. The need of assessing and monitoring these IBAs are very important to strategize the conservation of both IBAs and bird species. This conservation effort will also benefit both socio-economic livelihood of community people in promoting blue economy and environment in long run. Since, most of the IBAs are also located in critical watershed areas, conservation of IBAs will contribute in mitigating climate change and improving natural resources in the community. So, these are the rationale of the proposed project ultimately aimed for addressing various challenges of biodiversity conservation.
As a risk associated to proposed project due to covid-19, society has consider various options for the successful implementation of the project within the time frame.
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Project Snapshot

Bhutan Birdlife Society
Area Of Work:
Grant Amount:
US$ 30,600.00
Co-Financing Cash:
US$ 14,722.20
Co-Financing in-Kind:
US$ 694.40
Project Number:
Currently under execution

Grantee Contact

Mr Hishey Tshering
Phone: +97517611963


Taba, Thimphu, Bhutan
Thimphu , Thimphu , 11001

SGP Country office contact

Mr. Tenzin Wangchuk
Mr. Tshering Phuntsho
009752322424 (ext:330)


UN House, Peling Lam (Street), Kawajangsa, Thimphu, P.O. Box No. 162
Thimphu, Bhutan, 11001