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IBAs and KBAs


Photo: Amanda Bichel

In 2016, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) unveiled a mission to create a program for all biodiversity under one roof for the first time. Along with BirdLife International and 11 partner organizations, they introduced the concept of Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs), building on the long-standing success of Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) and other similar systems. Upwards of 75% of the KBAs identified around the world so far are IBAs. A team of organizations – The KBA Canada Coalition – is working collaboratively to identify KBAs in Canada.

As part of this larger coalition, Birds Canada is working to assess which of our IBAs might qualify as Key Biodiversity Areas. We have developed a colourful Story Map to introduce the KBA concept and to highlight two of Canada’s most outstanding KBAs.

Link to Story Map

Adding other organisms to the picture will deepen our understanding of the ecological value of each site, and confirms what we already know: that IBAs are not only good for birds, but for all biodiversity. Identifying sites allows us to choose priority sites in Canada to focus our conservation efforts on, monitor threats and species at sites that need it the most, and most importantly, we can engage and partner with a wider range of people and organizations interested in conserving wild spaces in Canada.


The Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA) program is a global conservation initiative of BirdLife International, co-led in Canada by Birds Canada. Thousands of people volunteer their time as Citizen Scientists to monitor and steward IBAs in Canada.

Our actions at IBAs include promoting nature appreciation through birding tourism (Niagara River, ON), reducing disturbance to migrating shorebirds (the Bay of Fundy), supporting bird monitoring “blitzes” and engagement of Indigenous communities (Manitoba), conservation planning and biodiversity protection (Prince Edward Country, ON), invasive species removal at sites across Canada, and partnering to preserve BC’s threatened Fraser Delta IBA.

More information can be found at

Andrew Couturier
Senior Director, Landscape Science and Conservation

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