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Location Suriname, Coronie,Nickerie
Central coordinates 56o 45.23' West  5o 56.90' North
IBA criteria A2, A4i, A4iii
Area 136,000 ha
Year of IBA assessment 2008

Summary The Bigi Pan IBA has been established as a Multiple-use Management area (MUMA) in 1987 and has a size of approximately 68,000 ha of land and an equal area of marine waters. The area also includes the Hertenrits Nature Reserve (100 ha) established in 1972. The reserve is a mound and an archaeological site with pre-Columbian artifacts. The MUMA is a Hemispheric Reserve and twinned with Mary’s Point of Shepody National Wildlife Area and Shepody Bay in New Brunswick, Canada in 1989. Mudflats and extensive mangrove forests of Avicennia germinans of several kilometers width are found along the coast and forests of Rhizophora mangle and Laguncularia racemosa occur along the banks of river and creek Behind these forests there are salt water ponds with Ruppia maritima and brackish ponds and lagoons with Ruppia maritima and Nymphae ampla. There are also shallow salt water swamps with halophytic herb vegetation, dominated by Sesuvium portulacastrum, or Batis maritima or Sporobolus virginicus. Furthermore, brackish to fresh water short grass swamps with Eleocharis mutata, Cyperus articulatus, Leersia hexandra or Typha angustifolia, brackish to fresh water swamp wood dominated with Erythrina glauca. Also mixed marsh forest on younger river banks, mixed ridge forest on mounds occur. There are also several open water lagoons in the area. The salinity of the water varies from hyper saline to fresh water and the depth of the water varies from approximately 50 cm in the dry season to approx. 1 meter in the rainy season. Parts of the lagoons surrounding the Bigi Pan lagoon dry up in the dry season although some may dry up totally in the long dry season. The Bigi Pan lagoon which is the largest and the best known lagoon in the MUMA never dries up The area is known for its high biological production, breeding and feeding grounds for large numbers of local and migratory bird species and nursery ground for fish and shrimp. It has a rich population of fish, shrimp, wildlife and crabs. Plenty people of the local population have their living in fisheries and hunting in the area. In the Bigi Pan lagoon also tourist activities, in particular “bird watching” takes place. The soil of the entire estuarine zone is very fertile and as such very suitable for rice cultivation. Therefore a great number of rice fields have been developed in the direct vicinity of the MUMA. Some of these rice fields borders the MUMA and some are situated within the MUMA.

Site description Bigi Pan IBA is a Multiple use management Area which means that it has more functions than only nature protection. There is a lot of fischery in the shallow lagoons and on the mudflats, and there is legal and illegal hunting in the swamps. As with al wetlands the Bigi Pan is important for mankind because of its biological functions such as, nursery for seafish, waterfiltering and protection from rising seawaterlevel. A high biodiversity makes this site suitable for especially tourism and recreation.

Key Biodiversity The Bigi Pan is part of an EBA because of the common occurence of three range restricted species, Guyanian Piculet, Blood-colored Woodpecker and Rufous Crabhawk. The mudflats and the swamps are important for the numurous North-American shorebirds.The 1% treshold is met for American woodstork, Semi-palmated Sandpiper, Semi-palmated plover, Short-billed Dowitcher. Hence it is an IBA on A2, A4i and A4iii criteria. Further it's important as a fouraging area for Scarlet Ibis outside the breeding season. Bubo virginianis is breeding here.

Non-bird biodiversity: The Bigi Pan area is rich in fish species. This area is also known as a habitat for the jaguar.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Wood Stork Mycteria americana unknown  2000-2005  2,000 individuals  poor  A4i  Least Concern 
Rufous Crab-hawk Buteogallus aequinoctialis resident  unknown  A2  Near Threatened 
Semipalmated Plover Charadrius semipalmatus non-breeding  2000-2004  1,200 individuals  unknown  A4i  Least Concern 
Short-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus griseus passage  2000-2004  1,200 individuals  unknown  A4i  Least Concern 
Semipalmated Sandpiper Calidris pusilla non-breeding  2000-2004  6,000-37,000 individuals  poor  A4i  Near Threatened 
Arrowhead Piculet Picumnus minutissimus resident  unknown  A2  Near Threatened 
Blood-colored Woodpecker Veniliornis sanguineus resident  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds non-breeding  2000-2004  20,000-49,999 individuals  poor  A4iii   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Bigi Pan Multiple Use Management Area 68,320 is identical to site 0  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Coastline Intertidal mud, sand & salt flats; Lagoons; Salt & brackish marshes  major
Forest Mangrove  5%
Wetlands (inland) Bogs; Coastal lagoons; Ephemeral pools and wetlands; Estuarine waters; Freshwater lakes and pools; Freshwater marshes/swamps; Intertidal mud, sand or salt flats; Saline/alkaline lakes; Salt pans/salinas; Salt/brackish marshes  95%

Land ownership The Bigi Pan area is owned by the state Suriname is placed at the disposal of the Ministry of Physical Planning Land and Forest Management.

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
fisheries/aquaculture major
hunting major
Notes: Legal and illegal hunting on large scale. Slaughtery of colony Ardea cocoi in 2001. The poaching of shorebirds is happening along the whole coast of Suriname.
nature conservation and research major
tourism/recreation major

Protection status Bigi Pan IBA is a Multiple use Management Area.

References Bigi Pan Mangementplan 1990.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Bigi Pan. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016

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