The Southern African Bird Atlas Project (SABAP) has been completed. Fieldwork for this project began in 1987. The project culminated with the publication in 1997 of The Atlas of Southern African Birds. SABAP has been described as the largest biodiversity ever undertaken on the continent of Africa. The project has one several awards; the most notable was the John FW Herschell Gold Medal of the Royal Society of South Africa, which was awarded to the seven editors of the Atlas in 1999. The citation for this medal highlights its achievements.
The compilation of checklists is a perennially popular activity among birders; the scientific value of doing this was clearly demonstrated by SABAP. SABAP is being followed up with a similar project which will produce a database complementary to that of the atlas. The Birds in Reserves Project (BIRP), launched in December 1994, uses essentially the same project design as SABAP but the geographical sampling units are protected areas rather than quarter-degree grid cells. In 2001, BIRP is growing from strength to strength, and is steadily reaching its goal of providing bird lists for the protected areas of South Africa.
PDFs of the two introductory chapters and the complete list of references of the Atlas are available here:
1. Introduction and methods by J.A. Harrison and L.G. Underhill
2. Southern African geography: its relevance to birds by D.G. Allan, J.A. Harrison, M. Herremans,
R.A. Navarro and L.G. Underhill
4. PDFs of individual species accounts are available from the SABAP2 website
5. List of papers and theses that have made extensive use of SABAP data
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