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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

Last updated: 08/10/2007

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