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Location Ethiopia, Amhara
Central coordinates 37o 43.68' East  11o 57.48' North
IBA criteria A1
Area 84,000 ha
Altitude 1,750 m
Year of IBA assessment 1996

Ethiopian Wildlife and Natural History Society



Site description The Fogera plains lie to the east of Lake Tana, near the town of Woreta on the road from Bahir Dar to Gondar, c.582 km from Addis Ababa. This area mainly consists of a flat, open plain across which the Rib river flows into Lake Tana. The Gumera river forms the southern boundary. Both rivers originate on the high plateau to the east, and as they reach the plains the gradient decreases and they form meanders. During and after the rainy season, as the Rib river approaches the level of Lake Tana, water overflows its banks and floods the surrounding area. The perennial Gumera river also overflows its banks as it approaches the lake, but causes less flooding than the Rib. A perennial swamp has been formed around the mouths of these rivers. Lake Tana, which forms the western boundary of this area, also floods up to 1.5 km inland during the rainy season. During the dry season, the water retreats and the flooded area is used for seasonal grazing and retreat cultivation. The extent of the marsh depends on the amount of rain, as no other surface water feeds it. The shoreline of the lake supports well-established papyrus beds 4 m tall. Further inland the vegetation is dominated by sedges, reed grasses and bulrushes, along with swamp grasses such as Echinochloa spp. and Cynodon aethiopicus that make very good grazing in the dry season. Patches of mixed small- and broadleaved trees and bushes are found around churches on small, rocky hills near the lake shore. These patches contain trees such as Albizia spp., Croton macrostachyus, Cordia africana, Olea europaea cuspidata, figs and Phoenix reclinata. The more shrubby areas comprise species typical of degraded forest, with Carissa edulis, small Acacia spp., Rosa abyssinica and Dodonea angustifolia. A variety of plants are found in and around homesteads, including Arundo donax, Guizotia scabra, Solanum spp. and other broadleaved plants. Papyrus is essential for making the local reed boats called ‘tankwas’. Other reeds and bulrushes are used for matting, fencing and roofing, but as soon as farmers can afford it they use corrugated iron or aluminium sheets for roofing. The plains support a large population of an indigenous breed of cattle, Fogera, named after the area. Cattle-farming is still a major activity, but crop cultivation has become increasingly important. In the 1970s, an agricultural research station was established at Woreta to promote rice as a crop. Although the rice grew well, there was little market for it, as local mills were not equipped to husk it. However, farmers have expanded cultivation of other crops, particularly shallots and other vegetables, which are otherwise traditionally grown with supplementary irrigation.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Lesser Flamingo Phoeniconaias minor winter  present  A1  Near Threatened 
Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni passage  1996  present  A1  Least Concern 
Pallid Harrier Circus macrourus passage  present  A1  Near Threatened 
Wattled Crane Bugeranus carunculatus resident  1996  uncommon  A1  Vulnerable 

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - terrestrial   88%
Wetlands (inland)   6%
Shrubland   4%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
forestry -
other -
Notes: Collection of papyrus and other reeds.

Other biodiversity None known to BirdLife International.

References Anon. (undated), Masselli-Novelli (1986).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Fogera plains. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 22/09/2014

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife