About the book: IMPORTANT BIRD AREAS OF JAMMU Et KASHMIR is an extension of IMPORTANT BIRD AREAS OF INDIA describing 466 IBAs and published in 2004 by BNHS, Indian Bird Conservation Network, BirdLife International, and OUP. It was felt that state-wise IBA books would be more useful to decision-makers, protected area managers, researchers and the general public. Earlier, BNHS has published IMPORTANT BIRD AREAS OF SIKKIM and IMPORTANT BIRD AREAS OF UTTAR PRADESH. This is the third book in this series.
The book is a fine example of worldwide collaboration among organisations, state government and individuals. The book describes and updates 21 IBAs of Jammu Et Kashmir. Seven potential IBAs have been proposed.
The book is jointly written by six field scientists and wildlife officers, and is a collaborative effort of BNHS, WWF-India, RSPB, and BirdLife International. It is profusely illustrated with more than 70 images showing habitats and birds, and each IBA has a polygon map. There are 30 maps. The Hon'ble Governor and Chief Minister of J&K have sent Messages, which are included in the book.
We hope that this book will generate interest in the protection of IBAs and also help in the identification of more IBAs. It will also be used as an advocacy tool for the protection of all wildlife and wild areas, as IBAs are also Key Biodiversity Areas.
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 has published nine books with BNHS and BirdLife International.
Khursheed Ahmad is an Assistant Professor in the Centre for Mountain Wildlife Sciences, Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences a Technology of Kashmir (SKUAST-Kashmir) and State Coordinator for Kashmir in the IBCN programme of BNHS-RSPB. He has been associated with BNHS and SACON in different capacities for forest avifauna and waterbird related projects in Jai< for over 14 years.
Intesar Suhail is a Wildlife Warden with the Department of Wildlife Protection, Jammu a Kashmir. He has been a park manager in several of the designated IBAs including Dachigam National Park, Overa-Aru Wildllife Sanctuary and Hirpora Wildlife Sanctuary. He is an experienced birdwatcher and bird photographer.
Pankaj Chandan is head of the high altitude wetlands conservation programme of WWF- India. He is an experiencied wildlife biologist with over a decade of field experience. He has a special interest in Himalayan wetlands and associated avifauna.
Ashfaq Ahmed Zarri earned his Ph.D in Ornithology from University of Mumbai while working at BNHS in a US Fish and Wildlife sponsored research project. He is presently IBCN State Coordinator (Jammu) and Deputy Registrar in BGSB University, Rajouri JEtK. He is also coordinating various Government of India funded awareness and extension education programmes in JaK.
Important Bird Areas (IBAs) is one of the major programmes of BirdLife International and its Partners in more than 100 countries. Till now nearly 12,000 IBAs have been identified worldwide, to which India has contributed 466 IBAs, perhaps the largest number in any country. Though started by NGOs and civil society, IBAs are now increasingly being recognized by various governments as sites of high biodiversity importance, or Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs). Birds are considered good indicators of good biodiversity sites. As the name suggests, IBAs are identified based on birds as the main criteria, but almost all IBAs are good sites for protection of other taxa.
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 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.
In 2004, the Bombay Natural History Society and BirdLife International, with the support of NGOs, governments and members of civil society, identified 466 IBAs in India, including 21 in Jammu a Kashmir. As the 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. As conservation action generally takes place at state level, it was felt that additional state-level IBA books would be more useful. The first such book was brought out by Sikkim, the second by Uttar Pradesh, and this is the third one. One more, on the Important Bird Areas of Maharashtra, is under production.
Besides describing the existing 21 IBAs of Jammu a Kashmir, this book also suggests seven new IBAs. We are sure there are more sites that may qualify to be IBAs, but we need more information on such sites and their avifaunal diversity. The site accounts have been corrected and updated. The main IBA book did not have polygonal maps, which have now been done. New pictures of birds and habitats have been included.
With its low price and easily 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. If better protection is given to birds and other wildlife, and their habitats, the purpose of this book will be served.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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