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Celebration time for the Second Southern African Bird Atlas Project! It is only a couple of days after mid-year. But 'Team SABAP2 Greater Gauteng' have already achieved two-thirds coverage of the Four Degree Squares defined as Greater Gauteng. This is the area inside the Red Square on the 2014-only coverage map. So there are almost six months left to tackle the final one-third, inevitably the more inaccessible and challenging pentads to reach.
In detailed numbers, 384 of the 576 pentads in this region have already had a full protocol checklist made in 2014. We also set ourselves the target of an average of six checklists per pentad for the year. That is 6 × 576 = 3456 checklists. Team SABAP2 Greater Gauteng is already at 1848, 53.5% of the target, just nicely ahead of schedule.
Three pentads are shaded PURPLE – astonishingly this means that they already have more than 50 checklists. Another 11 are RED, and they have more than 25 checklists. Is this really a celebration. Yes, it is, and it is a reason for celebration because the statisticians who analyse these data thrive on large sample sizes. Many of the little biases that bedevil analyses with small samples are averaged out by large sample sizes. These large samples will enable us to detect changes in species composition more easily.
This is the area where stuff is going to happen. 30% of South Africa’s population lives and works and plays in the Red Square. The development pressure is huge and is going to continue to be huge. The pressure on biodiversity is going to be huge, and it is only as we have lots of good solid quantitative data to back up the conservation agenda do we have a chance of mitigating the impact of development.
The map also includes a half-degree broad band around the edge of the Red Square. Please don’t neglect this region. Some of it does not yet have four checklists in total since SABAP2 began seven years ago.