Sites - Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs)
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Tai National Park and Nzo Faunal Reserve
Côte d'Ivoire, Man,Sassandra
7o 6.00' West 5o 45.00' North
A1, A2, A3
80 - 396m
Year of IBA assessment
Site description Located in the south-west corner of the country, between the Cavally and Sassandra rivers, Taï National Park (330,000 ha) is the largest and best-preserved remnant of Upper Guinea rainforest. Contiguous with its northern border is the Nzo Faunal Reserve (93,000 ha), which forms part of the buffer zone that surrounds the park, and which itself extends north to the southern edge of the artificial lake formed behind Buyo dam on the Sassandra river. Also included is the remainder of the park’s buffer zone, which is also a Faunal Reserve and which occupies a further 96,000 ha. The terrain is gently undulating in the north, more deeply dissected by watercourses in the south, of which the largest are the Nzé, Hana and Meno rivers, about 1.5 m deep, 5 m wide in the dry season, seasonally flooding to a width of 60 m or more. The most prominent of a large number of granitic inselbergs is Mont Niénokoué in the south-west, which reaches 396 m. These inselbergs often support an open savanna-like vegetation with grasses and deciduous trees. Otherwise, almost the entire area is covered by forest, moist evergreen in the south-west in which Diospyros spp. and Mapania spp. are typical, and moist semi-evergreen in the north and south-east; typical elements include Diospyros mannii, Parinari chrysophylla, Chrysophyllum prepulchrum and Chidlowia sanguinea. Much of the forest in the park is unlogged, mature, old-growth with emergents rising to 60 m. There is some swamp-forest in the north-west of the park and in Nzo. Average annual rainfall varies between 1,700 mm in the north to 2,200 mm in the south.
Key Biodiversity See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. This site, because of its size and the excellent condition of the forest, continues to support the full forest avifauna and is therefore probably unique in the country, in terms of both species diversity and population sizes. For example, all the large hornbill species and Agelastes meleagrides occur in large numbers, species which have been lost or much reduced elsewhere due to hunting. At least 250 species have been recorded and this number is likely to increase somewhat once all parts have been thoroughly explored. It is possible, for example, that Malimbus ballmanni, which was described from a specimen collected north-west of the town of Taï, may yet be found to occur within the site boundaries.
Non-bird biodiversity: The flora of Taï is estimated at around 1,300 species, of which 80–150 are thought to be endemic to the Upper Guinea region. The mammal fauna is rich and includes a number of threatened species such as Pan trogolodytes verus (EN), Procolobus verus (EN), Piliocolobus badius (VU), Colobus polykomos (VU), Cercopithecus d. diana (VU), Liberiictus kuhni (EN), Anomalurus peli (EN), Loxodonta africana cyclotis (EN), Hexaprotodon l. liberiensis (VU), Hylochoerus meinertzhageniivoriensis (EN), Hyemoschus aquaticus (LR/nt), Syncerus caffer (LR/cd), Tragelaphus euryceros (LR/nt), Cephalophus maxwellii (LR/nt), C. zebra (VU), C. niger (LR/nt), C. sylvicultor (LR/nt), C.ogilbyi (LR/nt), C. dorsalis (LR/nt), C. jentinki (EN), Neotragus pygmaeus (LR/nt). Two crocodiles of conservation concern occur, Crocodylus cataphractus (DD) and Osteolaemus tetraspis (VU), as does the tortoise Kinixys homeana (DD). In all, nearly 1,000 species of vertebrate are known from the park, and there are numerous invertebrate species known only from Taï.