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Fantastic achievement Team SABAP2 in Greater Gauteng! 50% of the 576 pentads in the Four Degree Squares region have been visited in 2014, and a total of 1019 checklists collected. What drives the passion to keep on collecting so much bird atlas data for the Four Degree Squares centred on Gauteng? Here’s the reason. In 1996, Gauteng was home to 7.8 million people, 19% of South Africa’s population. In 2001, the population had grown to 9.4 million people, 21% of the population. At the 2011 census, Gauteng alone had 12.3 million people, 24% of the population. Currently, in 2014, about a quarter of all South African’s live in Gauteng, and the proportion is predicted to increase steadily. This region is suffering a double whammy! The South African population size is increasing, and an increasing proportion of these are living in Gauteng.
Right now, about 30% of South Africa’s population lives within these Four Degree Squares. The development pressure is going to be huge, both as a result of population increase, and the general drift of people to the economic powerhouse of the region. If we collect large volumes of bird atlas data, we can detect changes in species composition, and we can detect when species are starting to drop out of the species list for a pentad.
Biodiversity represents quality of life. Biodiversity represents ecosystem services. Unless we document and quantify biodiversity and know how it is changing, we cannot tell whether we are losing it until it is all gone. That is why we drive this "Greater Gauteng" project with such enthusiasm.
This is the context to our mission to get lots of data for this region on an annual basis. We want to get as many of the 576 pentads in the area covered as possible each year, and we want lots of data for the region as a whole – we have set 3456 checklists as the target for 2014. This is an average of six checklists per pentad.
This snip from the coverage map shows the Four Degree Squares region, at 50% coverage, plus one ring of pentads all along the edge.