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      Biosphere Reserve Information

Mauritania / Senegal


  General Description   Situated in the Delta of the Senegal River, this transboundary biosphere reserve presents few variations in altitude, but owes its diversity to its vast hydrographic network, which is divided into several basins. The landscape is very diverse and includes floodplains fed by water from natural or artificial rising of the river (through hydraulic works), backwaters, lakes, and by the sea. Continental and coastal dunes slightly mark the relief. The floodplains are deprived of vegetation in the dry season. The importance of the area with regards to conservation can be perceived through the great variety of protected areas that have been designated here. Migratory birds find refuge in the delta and more than 350 species have been recorded in the 'Oiseaux du Djoudj' National Park with a bird population of over 3 million individuals from November to May.

The core areas of the biosphere reserve include national parks and natural reserves that are part of the national network of protected areas, such as the 'Oiseaux de Djoudj' National Park (Senegal), which is also a World Heritage site and a Ramsar Wetland, and the Diawaling National Park and the Chat TBoul Reserve (Mauritania), which are both Ramsar Wetlands. The buffer zones are managed in accordance with their statutes defined by the same texts as the core areas, except the Gandon Forest (Senegal), which is a Community Natural Reserve. The transition area is public or state property, and also includes private lands. In the delta, the agricultural landscape is dominated by irrigated rice farming and cultivation of sugar cane. Livestock raising, fishing and harvesting of natural resources are also important human activities.

There are some 375 000 inhabitants in the biosphere reserve belonging mainly to three ethnic groups: Wolofs, Moors and Peuls. The cultural interest of the area includes the city of Saint Louis and the sites that the population considers as having a true value with regards to beliefs, traditions or history. Saint Louis is registered on the list of historical sites and monuments of Senegal and is also a World Heritage Site.

The management of the biosphere reserve is assured by three inter-state bodies and a national committee in each country, which participates and is implicated in the planning and monitoring of the execution of the activities. A transboundary coordinating committee is in charge of the policy guidelines: it mobilizes the budget and means necessary for the functioning of the transboundary biosphere reserve.
  Major ecosystem type   Wetlands; tropical savanna; mangroves; coastal and marine systems; lagoons
  Major habitats & land cover types   Marine systems with zones of artisanal and industrial fishing; Littoral zone composed of Heliotropium bacciferum, Zygophyllum waterlotti, Euphorbia balsamifera, Tamarix sp. etc.; Insular zone with fishing and harvesting areas, dominated by Rhizophora racemosa, Avicennia germinans and Tamarix sp.; Estuary zone characterized by Avicennia germinans and Rhizophora racemosa, as well as Tamarix sp., Salicornia senegalensis, Arthrocnemum machrostachyum, etc.; Floodplains; Continental dunes; Irrigated cultivations with rice, tomato and sugar cane; Human settlements.
  Location   15°74' to 16°84'N; 15°62' to 16°59'W
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   641,768
  Core area(s)   95460
  Buffer zone(s)   86142 (of which marine: 26198)
  Transition area(s) when given   460165
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   -2840 to +20
  Year designated   2005
  Administrative authorities   Secrétariat général du Ministère du développement rural, de l’hydraulique et de l’environnement et Direction nationale des parcs nationaux
  Brief description   Biodiversity inventorying; monitoring of bird and fish populations; climatic monitoring; hydrological studies; rural development; decentralization; land management.
  Specific variables...    
  Abiotic   Abiotic factors, air quality, air temperature, climate, contaminants, drought, erosion, geology, geomorphology, global change, groundwater, habitat, hydrology, indicators, meteorology, modelling, monitoring/methodologies, nutrients, physical oceanography/oceans, pollution, pollutants, siltation/sedimentation, soil, topography, toxicology/toxic substances.
  Biodiversity   Afforestation/Reforestation, algae, alien/invasive/exotic/introduced species, amphibians, arid/semi-arid, autoecology/synecology, beach/soft bottom, benthos, biodiversity, biogeography, biology, birds, breeding/reproduction, coastal/marine, community studies/communities, conservation, coral reefs, degraded areas, desertification, dune systems, ecology, ecosystem assessment, ecosystem functioning/ecosystem structure, ecotone, endemic species, evapotranspiration, evolutionary studies/palaeoecology/evolution, fauna, fires/fire ecology, fishes, flora, freshwater/inland water, genetic resources, home gardens, indicators, invertebrates/insects/spiders, island systems/islands, lagoon systems, mammals, mangrove, microorganisms, migrating populations/migration, modelling, monitoring/methodologies, natural medicinal products, natural resources, perturbations/resilience/vulnerability, pests/diseases, phenology, phytosociology/succession, plankton, plants, pollination, population genetics/population dynamics, productivity, rare/endangered/threatened species, reptiles, restoration/rehabilitation/redevelopment, species inventorying/inventory, taxonomy, tropical grassland and savanna systems, vegetation studies/plant cover, wetlands, wildlife.
  Socio-economic   Agriculture/Production systems, agroforestry, anthropological studies/anthropology, aquaculture/mariculture, archaeology/paleontology, capacity building, control and monitoring of illegal activities, cottage industry/artisanal industry, cultural aspects, demography, economic studies, economically important species, energy production systems/alternative energy, firewood cutting/harvesting, fishery/fisheries, forestry, human health, human migration/population exodus, human/wildlife conflicts, hunting, indicators, indicators of sustainability, industry, livelihood measures, livestock and related impacts/overgrazing, local participation, micro-credits, mining, modelling, monitoring methodologies, natural hazards, non-timber forest products/ntfp, pastoralism/pastoralists/grazing, people-nature relations/man/nature, poverty, quality economies, recreation, resource use, role of women/gender, sacred sites, small business initiatives, social/socio-economic aspects, stakeholders' interests, tourism, traditional practices/ethnology/traditional knowledge, transport.
  Integrated monitoring   Biogeochemistry, carrying capacity/sustainability, conflict, ecosystem approach, education and public awareness, environmental change, environmental quality, geographic information system/gis, impact and risk studies/environmental impact, indicators, infrastructure, institutional and legal aspects, integrated studies/interdisciplinaty, interdisciplinary studies, land tenure, land use/land cover, landscape inventorying/monitoring, management issues, mapping, modelling, monitoring/methodologies, planning and zoning measures/zonation, policy issues, remote sensing, rural systems, sustainable development/sustainable use, transboundary/transfrontiers, urban systems/towns/cities, watershed studies/monitoring.
  Contact address   Bah Ould Moctar Sidi
Directeur du Parc National du Diawling
BP 3935
  Contact address   Lamine Kane
Lieutenant, Conservateur de la RBT du Delta du Fleuve Sénégal
Direction des Parcs Nationaux, BP : 5135
  Telephone   (221) 33 832 23 09

Last updated: 08/10/2007

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