The wetlands of the Atlantic coast of Western Africa are of utmost importance for waterbird populations, other biodiversity and people alike. For proper policy and management of these resources monitoring is an important tool. It helps in providing an early warning of negative developments and provides evaluation of taken measurements. Countries in the region require monitoring data as the basis of site management decisions, national conservation strategies and international obligations.
This document provides both a strategy on the collection of monitoring data, concentrating on numbers of waterbirds and the environmental conditions of their sites, and provides a practical manual showing how to carry out this monitoring, both for coordinators and fieldworkers. Waterbirds are relatively easy to quantify and they are sensitive to the quality of their environment. This makes them important indicators of the ecological quality of the sites they use. This document is developed in the framework of the Conservation of Migratory Birds project and the Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative. A cooperation between BirdLife International, Wetlands International, several organizations involved in the monitoring and conservation of the Wadden Sea and stakeholders in Western Africa, both government and non-government. It results from a workshop in Dakar in June 2012 and builds on the methods of the International Waterbird Census and the Important Bird Areas Programmes.