The importance of Lebanon for the migratory soaring birds & the flyway. April Bassima Khatib SPNL Assistant Director General

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1 The importance of Lebanon for the migratory soaring birds & the flyway April 2012 Bassima Khatib SPNL Assistant Director General

2 Outline Who is SPNL? IBA programme Importance of Lebanon for migratory soaring birds Threats to soaring birds Effect of wind energy on soaring birds Mitigation measures

3 Who is SPNL? The first environmental NGO in Lebanon. SPNL was established in SPNL is a national, non-geographic, non-sectorial, nonpolitical environmental NGO. SPNL s Mission Statement SPNL aims to protect nature, birds and biodiversity of Lebanon for people and to ensure sustainable use of natural resources.

4 SPNL s International Partnerships? BirdLife International Partner Lebanon. IUCN Member. Med Forum Partner - Lebanon Founding Member Medwet / NGO Network Member in the WANA Forum Founding Member of the Lebanese Environment Forum (composed of 48 NGOs)

5 IBA programme The IBA programme call for the conservation of the declared sites. No specification for land tenure. No restriction on the approach for reaching the goal of sustainable management. From strict protection..to community based management.

6 Declared IBAs in Lebanon Three years of extensive work (1 March February 08). 320 site visits by teams of researchers Over 3000 hours of observations Thousands of records Tens of thousands of birds 15 IBAs identified by SPNL & declared internationally by BirdLife. Variety in habitats, ecosystems, biodiversity & bottlenecks for migration.

7 Conservation Status The rest 10 sites are on municipal or private land ONLY 5 Nature Reserves??? On public land Where central system does not respond to it. WHICH CALLS FOR URGENT ACTION

8 Importance of Lebanon for Birds a small country of 10,452 km2 temperate Mediterranean climate topography dominated by two mountain ranges and a rift valley in between, running parallel to a 225 km narrow sandy and rocky coastline extreme variability in climatic conditions, soils, vegetation cover and socio-economic status

9 Around 400 species of birds have been recorded in Lebanon. 140 of these species have been recorded to be breeding in Lebanon. GTS such as Dalmatian Pelican, Greater Spotted Eagle, White-tailed Eagle, Egyptian Vulture, Pallid Harrier, Imperial Eagle, and the Lesser Kestrel stresses the importance of this country on an international scale.

10 Importance of Lebanon Lebanon lies on the second most important flyway for migrating birds, lying between Eurasia and Africa. Estimated 5,000,000,000 birds travel 7-8,000 km from northern breeding grounds to African wintering grounds & backwards.

11 Soaring Birds They migrate from one place to another. They travel searching for their needs: food, shelter, They depend on thermals during their travel. They are opposed by risks & threats during their travel.

12 Bottlenecks Birds of prey (raptors), storks, pelicans, cranes Ascend on thermals and glide Method limits migratory routes can t easily cross mountains or large water bodies - form narrow flyways Forces birds through narrow migratory bottlenecks Birds vulnerable at bottlenecks and along flyway

13 Migratory Soaring Birds over 1.5 million birds of 37 species, including 5 globally threatened species, using this corridor BirdLife indicated that nearly 70% of these soaring birds have an unfavorable conservation status.

14 Spring Flyway In spring, the major route used by soaring birds of prey and cranes migrating north, to their breeding grounds, through Lebanon is along the eastern flanks of the Mount Lebanon mountain range and the western half of the Beqaa Valley.

15 Fall/Autumn Flyway In the fall, when birds are returning south to their wintering grounds in Africa, most soaring birds pass down the western slopes of Mount Lebanon. These streams do converge at times and congregate in large flocks. Unlike spring, the autumn passage is dominated by birds of prey with storks and pelican heading on a more south easterly track with majority passing over Syria and Jordan.

16 Migration Season Generally, the passage starts by mid August building up to early October to dwindle down with few stragglers by the end of November, however, the numbers do vary significantly through this period, with daily counts peaks in the thousands offset by days with total absence of birds. Also, it should be pointed out, that the composition of the passage does vary, early migrants being nearly exclusively dominated by a single species, while by early October counts of up to 18 species per day have been registered, this diversity too, will dwindle as the season progresses.

17 Identified Threats Productive sectors that pose the greatest risk to the safe migration of soaring birds, mainly: Hunting Energy Agriculture Waste Management Population growth, development and economic expansion would lead to increased activity in the productive sector.

18 Effect of Wind Energy on Migratory Soaring Birds

19 Threats of Wind Farms Wind turbines may affect bird populations in a number of ways; main potential hazards identified as: Collision mortality Disturbance leading to displacement or exclusion, including barriers to movement Loss of, or damage to, habitat resulting from wind turbines and associated infrastructure

20 Conclusions Lebanese government objective to increase the proportion of energy derived from renewable sources, with a set target of 12% of renewable energy by The information presented in the Wind Atlas by Hassan (2011) demonstrate that north east Lebanon and a narrow strip south east adjacent to the Syrian border are the most favorable locations for wind farms installations in the country.

21 Figure 5.2 Central estimate wind map of the Republic of Lebanon at 50 m above ground level of The National Wind atlas of Lebanon (Hassan 2011). Figure 5.1 Central estimate wind map of the Republic of Lebanon at 80 m above ground of T he National Wind atlas of Lebanon (Hassan 2011)

22 Recommendations Bird vulnerability and mortality at wind power facilities reflect a combination of site-specific, species specific and seasonal factors. therefore, once specification and location of the proposed project are at hand, a detailed survey of the migration, preferably for 4 cycles (2 springs and 2 autumns), should be undertaken covering the main routes followed, the composition and numbers in each season.

23 Based on the findings of the study, the most unobtrusive season for construction should be selected and adhered to. Once the works are operative and commissioned, remote sensing equipment supported by trained personnel or at least one member of the staff with ornithological qualifications to assess the size, state and structure of the migrating flocks or birds in the surroundings to advise on the action to be taken. The passage being seasonal and variable intra that period, the most appropriate mitigation measure should be a plant shut down during the comparatively few days of intense birds presence.

24 Partnership To protect these amazing creatures.

25 Thank you Lammergeier Khatib, Bassima; SPNL Bassima Khatib SPNL Assistant Director General

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