|Central coordinates||16o 23.00' West 16o 13.00' North|
|IBA criteria||A1, A3, A4i, A4iii|
|Altitude||0 - 6m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2001|
Ornithological information See Box and Table 2 for key species. In January 1997, 8,000 Phoenicopterus minor were recorded (Measson 2000). The area, especially when considered in conjunction with Djoudj National Park (IBA SN001) in Senegal, is extremely important for a wide diversity of waterbirds. A single species of the Sahara–Sindian biome (A02) has been recorded (see Table 2).
Site description Situated in the extreme south-west of the country, Diawling National Park lies on the border with Senegal at the mouth of the Senegal river. A buffer zone and a peripheral zone cover a further 19,500 ha, which includes both Aftout es Saheli (site MR012) and Chout Boul (site MR017).The park is contiguous with Djoudj National Park (IBA SN001) in Senegal, on the opposite bank of the river. The site includes a lagoon which is fed by brackish water from a tributary of the Senegal river, significant estuarine and intertidal areas, saline flats and a small area of mangroves, as well as dunes, alluvial plains and an interconnecting network of rivers lakes and ponds. The western border of the park is formed by dunes. Tree cover on the dunes includes Acacia tortilis, A. senegal, Euphorbia balsamifera and Balanites aegyptiaca, with a herbaceous cover of Cenchrus biflorus, Chloris prieurii and Schoenefeldia gracilis. Tree cover is more varied and abundant towards the inland edge of the dunes, with Borassus aethiopum, Acacia nilotica, A. seyal and Parkinsonia aculeata. There is little cover on the alluvial plains, but Tamarix senegalensis and Arthrocnemum glaucum occur on sandy knolls and Acacia nilotica beside creeks and pools. Herbaceous cover on the lower zones of the plain is dominated by halophytes, such as Salsola baryosma. The grass Sporobolus robustus is common in the most frequently flooded areas. Grasses are more important in less saline areas, with Echinochloa colona and Vetiveria nigritana in depressions and Schoenefeldia gracilis on higher ground. Average annual rainfall is 300 mm (although between 1970 and 1990 it fell to 150 mm).
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata||winter||1994||6,200 individuals||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Northern Pintail Anas acuta||winter||1987||16,500 individuals||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus||winter||2000||3,760 individuals||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Lesser Flamingo Phoeniconaias minor||winter||1997||8,000 individuals||-||A1||Near Threatened|
|Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia||winter||2000||481 individuals||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|African Spoonbill Platalea alba||winter||1975||700 individuals||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Great Egret Casmerodius albus||winter||2000||509 individuals||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Great White Pelican Pelecanus onocrotalus||winter||2000||24,613 individuals||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Arabian Bustard Ardeotis arabs||resident||2001||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Near Threatened|
|Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta||winter||1974||2,200 individuals||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Slender-billed Gull Larus genei||winter||1976||200 individuals||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Caspian Tern Sterna caspia||winter||2000||595 individuals||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Greater Hoopoe-lark Alaemon alaudipes||resident||2001||-||-||Least Concern|
|Chestnut-bellied Starling Lamprotornis pulcher||resident||2001||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Black Scrub-robin Cercotrichas podobe||resident||2001||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Sudan Golden Sparrow Passer luteus||resident||2001||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|A4iii Species group - waterbirds||winter||-||-||unknown||A4iii|
|Protected area||Designation||Area (ha)||Relationship with IBA||Overlap with IBA (ha)|
|Diawling||National Park||13,000||protected area contains site||15,600|
|Parc National du Diawling||Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar)||15,600||is identical to site||15,600|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Artificial landscapes (terrestrial)||29%|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|nature conservation and research||-|
|Notes: Collection of grasses for mat making.|
Other biodiversity The mammal Trichechus senegalensis (VU) has been recorded.
Management considerations Until the early 1960s the lower delta of the Senegal river was an area of extraordinary biodiversity and ecological richness and a large population of nomadic herders and settled farmers and fishermen. However, following the construction of the Diama dam at the river mouth in 1986 and the Mantali dam in Mali in 1990, the delta has dramatically changed. The dams were to supply irrigation water for agriculture to the Senegal river valley as well as creating hydroelectric power and increasing the navigable distance of the river. A large number of problems have, however, ensued; irrigated crops have proved economically unviable, increasing soil salinity is a prevalent problem and the non-agricultural activities associated with the area have suffered. Thus, livestock have had less access to water and grazing, fish stocks have declined, woodlands have been lost and water-table recharge was hampered. There have also been numerous social and health problems.The Diama dam stops dry-season inundation of seawater upriver, and embankments were built to create a large freshwater lake to supply water for irrigation. At the time of construction the hydraulic infrastructure needed to preserve the biodiversity of the region was not in place and as a result the area was significantly adversely affected. In 1994, IUCN started a programme to rehabilitate the delta, working in collaboration with the management of Diawling National Park, created in 1991. Using local knowledge of the functioning of the estuary, the IUCN project has resulted in the rapid restoration of the hydrology of the area, with dramatic results. Fish stocks have recovered, pastures were restored, Sporobolus grass recolonized and local women have begun earning money from making it into mats. The harvesting of this plant has had to be controlled by the authorities to assure its regeneration. There is fear that too many herders will bring their animals to the delta and that grazing pressure could approach its limits.In 1997 an entrepreneur employing local fishermen set up an intensive shrimp fishery. The nets used are not the traditional grass meshes but fine-mesh nylon. This allows more shrimp to be caught, is thought to inhibit their migration and may result in over-fishing. The uncontrolled expansion of vegetable gardening poses another risk.
References Boubouth et al. (1999), De Naurois (1969), Hammerlynck et al. (1998, 1999), IUCN (1987), Kelleher et al. (1995), Messaoud et al. (1998), Parc National de Diawling (1996), Taylor (1993).
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2013) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Diawling National Park. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 22/05/2013
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