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Location Libya, Al Jabal al Akhdar,Darnah
Central coordinates 21o 40.00' East  32o 40.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A3
Area 100,000 ha
Altitude 0 - 850m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

Site description The site includes Kouf National Park which lies 150 km north-east of Benghazi, next to the town of Al Bayda (Beida). The park includes a 20 km stretch of coast and extends southwards into the Jabal al Akhdar massif. The main Benghazi–Tubruq (Tobruk) road traverses the park. The coastal section of the park consists of sandy beaches interspersed with rock outcrops and coastal cliffs. Behind the beach is a disjunct band of sand-dunes which are fringed on the landward side by shallow, seasonal brackish lagoons. The coastal strip and dunes are covered with the grasses Ammophila arenaria and Agropyron junceum together with scattered shrubs. The woody plants Limoniastrum monopetalum and Tamarix nilotica are also common on the dunes. Species found on the seasonal mudflats include the halophytes Suaeda fruticosa and Cakile maritima. The edges of permanent water are lined with Phragmites australis. Also included is a large section of Jabal al Akhdar, a limestone massif reaching 850 m. Wadis up to 200 m deep cut steep-sided gorges into the limestone. The vegetation is mainly dense maquis shrubland, in which Juniperus phoenicia is common. The maquis grades in places into garrigue with abundant herbaceous communities. Associated with the juniper are Cupressus sempervirens, Pistacia lentiscus and P. atlantica; along with Myrtus communis, Olea europaea and Rhamnus spp. The vegetation of the rocky slopes includes Cichorium spinosum, Alkanna tinctoria, Urginea maritima and grasses. Cupressus sempervirens grows in the gorges along with Quercus coccifera trees up to 10 m high in the more sheltered areas. The shrubs Smilax aspera, Viburnum tinus and Pistacia lentiscus are also common amongst the rocks. There is no permanent water except for small springs by the sebkha lagoon of Ayn al Shaqiqh while the wadis carry water only for short periods following heavy rains, mainly during November to February; annual rainfall is in the range 300–700 mm.

Key Biodiversity See Box and Table 2 for key species. At least 27 pairs of Falco naumanni were recorded breeding in 1998. It is likely that more species of the Mediterranean North Africa biome will be found to occur. In addition, one species of the Sahara–Sindian biome (A02) has been recorded (see Table 2). Breeding species include Aquila chrysaetos, Alectoris barbara, Pterocles spp. and Chlamydotis undulata. The brackish lagoons are important for herons, ducks and waders as well as Ciconia nigra and C. ciconia.

Non-bird biodiversity: The seal Monachus monachus (CR) has been reported in the past, but its current status is unknown. Other marine mammals recorded offshore include Tursiops truncatus (DD). The sea-turtle Caretta caretta (EN) nests on beaches in the park. Among the flora, notable North African endemics include Arbutus pavarii (V), Arum cyrenaicum, Thapsia garganica sylphium, Ornithogalum barba-carprae, Origanum cyrenaicum, Athamanta della-cellae, Crocus boulosii (V) and Cyclamen rohlfsianum (V). Approximately 90% of Libya’s flora has been recorded from the park.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Barbary Partridge Alectoris barbara resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni breeding  present  A1  Least Concern 
Sardinian Warbler Sylvia melanocephala resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Kouf National Park 35,000 protected area contained by site 35,000  

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
forestry -
nature conservation and research -
tourism/recreation -

References Abou Jaafer (1984), ACSAD (1979), Armsby (1980), Baker (1979, 1980, 1984), Bundy (1976), Child (1978), Gryn-Ambroes (1980), Hemsley (1981), Kettaneh (1980), Massa (1999).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Jabal al Akhdar. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016

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