Sites - Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs)
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Diawling National Park
16o 23.00' West 16o 13.00' North
A1, A3, A4i, A4iii
0 - 6m
Year of IBA assessment
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).
Key Biodiversity 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).
Non-bird biodiversity: The mammal Trichechus senegalensis (VU) has been recorded.