SABAP2, the most important bird conservation project of our time
SABAP2 is documenting the 21st century distributions of all our bird species. It is documenting how they have changed since SABAP1. In addition, right now, it is documenting the timing of arrival of the long-distance migrants from Europe and Asia. All this makes SABAP2 the most important bird conservation project in southern Africa.
In a news item exactly a week ago, we reminded ourselves that the second half of September and through October were the critical period for collecting data on the timing of arrival of most of the long-distance migrants from the north. Team SABAP2 has responded by making a brilliant start. In the week Wednesday 19 September to Tuesday 25 September, a total of 464 checklists was made, one of the largest weekly totals in the five years of SABAP2. The number of records submitted in the week was 23321, so the lists averaged 50.3 species each. By midsummer, once all the migrants have arrived, checklist length averages about 58 species. The total number of checklists submitted so far for the SpringMAP2012 mini-project, which started on 8 August, is 1828.
SABAP2012 (see news items one and two which introduced this mini-project at the start of the year) is now 109 pentads short of 25% coverage of the entire atlas region. In the first nine months of 2012 we have achieved the level of coverage that it took nearly two years to achieve from the start of SABAP2. In the past week, 113 pentads were added to SABAP2012 – these pentads were atlased for the first time in 2012. The instructions for finding the pentads that remain unatlased in 2012 so far are contained in this news item. We are hoping that SABAP2012 coverage will end up somewhere beyond 31%.
Overall coverage is at 63.8%. The next mega-milestone is two-thirds coverage, 66.7%. That is now 502 pentads away. To reach that in the remaining 97 days of 2012 will need an expedition or two to fill some of the big gaps in coverage. Meanwhile, everyone keeps chipping away opportunistically at whatever pentads they are able to access. This approach yielded 37 new pentads in the past week. 5.2 pentads per day need to be done to reach two-thirds coverage by year end. Perhaps more realistically, but still not easy, 3.9 new pentads per day would get us there by the end of the summer holidays, 31 January 2013.
So Team SABAP2 is making great progress with the most crucial bird conservation project of our time.
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