European Commission’s internet site to protect African biodiversity

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The European Commission is to launch an Internet site aimed at providing information for the protection of biodiversity in Africa, official sources said in Brussels on Monday.

In a communiqué released in Brussels, the European Executive said the site would be based on the latest breakthroughs in satellite technologies designed to slow down the decline of biodiversity in Africa, a continent that played host to one of the most precious parts of ecosystems and living species of the planet.

Dubbed “The Assessment of African Protected Areas”, the online information system makes it possible to monitor the evolution of fires, vegetation and rainfall levels on the continent.

The site is expected to enable managers of natural parks to compare the activity of fires, the growth of vegetation or the levels of rainfalls at a given time as compared to seasonal averages.

For the European Commission, this information is expected to help African countries attain the goal of slowing down the decline of biodiversity by the year 2010 .

The web site will be updated every 10 days and covers 741 protected areas, distributed across 50 African countries.

The communiqué said the site would provide information on 280 species of mammals, 381 species of birds and 930 species of amphibians and present a wide range of climatic, environmental and socio-economic information.

It added that the site would help compare situations in different parks in one and the same country or in one and the same ecosystem, which made it an important tool for the allocation of resources in favour of areas that mostly needed it.

The communiqué said across the continent, there were more than 16,000 plant and animal species that were threatened with extinction.

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