The Ramsar Bulletin Board, 4 May 2005

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Ramsar sites in the Nordic countries. The Ramsar Parties in Scandinavia have completed the publication of eight 12-page pamphlets on the implementation of the Ramsar Convention in the Nordic countries. In a project funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers and the countries involved, each brochure includes information on the Ramsar Convention in general and on wetland-related issues in the targeted country. In all, pamphlets are available for Sweden in Swedish, Norway in Norwegian, Greenland in two linguistic versions, Iceland in Icelandic, Denmark in Danish, and Finland in Finnish and Swedish versions. More information can be gained from [04/05/05]

Sudan joins the Convention on Wetlands. The Ramsar Secretariat is very pleased to welcome Sudan to the list of Contracting Parties to the Convention. The treaty will come into force for the new Party on 7 May 2005, and Sudan's obligatory first Wetland of International Importance, effective 7 January 2005, is Dinder National Park (DNP) (1,084,600 hectares, 12°19'N 034°47'E), a very large complex of about 40 wetlands, or "mayas", and pools formed by meanders and oxbows that are part of the Rahad and Dinder river drainage systems bordering the frontier with Ethiopia in southeastern Sudan. Both rivers and their tributaries, coming from the Ethiopian highlands across the flat plain of the Park, are seasonal and flow from June to November, peaking in August. The wetlands are vital as a source of water and of the most nutritious grasses for herbivores, especially during the most severe part of the dry season. A large number of animal species are supported, some of which, like the tiang Damaliscus korrigum, are endangered. Located in the center of migration routes among three continents, the site is visited by a large number of species of migratory birds, and some of the mayas contain quantities of fish throughout the dry season. Recent archaeological investigations at many locations within the park show promise of important finds from ancient Meroitic and medieval Fung sultanate periods. The local population practices agriculture and pastoralism and many are nomadic within the park during dry and rainy seasons. Illegal fires set by non-local nomadic grazers, poachers, and honey collectors are cited as among the chief threats to the site.

Support from WWF International's Global Freshwater Programme was extremely helpful to the new Party in preparing for its accession and for this and several new Ramsar site designations to come. [18/04/04]

Ramsar Regional Meeting in Arusha. The Ramsar Convention's Africa Regional Meeting in preparation for the 9th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties got under way in Arusha, United Republic of Tanzania, on the 4th of April and is proving to be extraordinarily successful. More than 150 delegates from African countries and representatives from national and international organizations are discussing their regional positions on the issues that will be facing the COP in November and identifying the problems in implementing the Convention in the region. The meeting is formally ending later today, 8 April, but many of the delegates will be staying on to the 9th for an additional session on the World Bank draft "Principles for a code of conduct for the management and sustainable use of mangrove ecosystems". Here is a brief illustrated report on the meeting from Sebastiá Semene Guitart. [08/04/05]

Argentina names urban wetland for the Ramsar List. The Secretariat is pleased to report that, effective as of World Water Day, 22 March 2005, the Government of Argentina has designated the Reserva Ecológica Costanera Sur (353 hectares, 34º37'S 058º21'W). Declared a Natural Park and Ecological Reserve in 1986, the site is located in the east of Buenos Aires, the most populated city in Argentina. The site sustains a large population of Cygnus melancorphus swans and other waterfowl. In total, 250 species of birds, nine of amphibians, 23 of reptiles, 10 of mammals and 50 of butterflies have been identified in the area. Plant varieties also include 245 species from 55 families. Most of these species are highly representative of the biological diversity occurring in the region. Here are a few illustrations. [01/04/05]

Reserva Ecológica Costanera Sur.22/03/2005; Buenos Aires; 353 ha; 34º37'S 058º21'W. Declarada Parque Natural y Zona de Reserva Ecológica en 1986, Costanera Sur esta localizada en el extremo este de Buenos Aires, ciudad mas populosa de Argentina. En el sitio han sido identificadas al menos 250 especies de aves, incluyendo a una población considerable de cisnes de cuello negro (Cygnus melancorphus). Otras variedades presentes en la zona incluyen a 9 especies de anfibios, 23 de reptiles, 10 de mamíferos y 50 de mariposas. Las variedades de flora también incluyen a 245 especies de 55 familias. La mayoría de estas especies son altamente representativas de la diversidad biológica presente en la región.

Jamaica names second Ramsar site.The Secretariat is very pleased to announce that Jamaica has designated its second Wetland of International Importance -- Palisadoes - Port Royal (7,523 hectares, 17º55'N 076º49'W) has been added to the Ramsar List with an effective date, at the request of the National Environment and Planning Agency, of Earth Day, 22 April 2005. According to Adrián Ruiz-Carvajal, Ramsar Assistant Advisor for the Americas, based on data supplied with the Ramsar Information Sheet or RIS, the new Ramsar site is located on the southeastern coast just offshore from the capital Kingston, and it features cays, shoals, mangrove lagoons, mangrove islands, coral reefs, seagrass beds and shallow water, thus hosting a variety of underrepresented wetland types. Endangered and vulnerable species occurring in the area include American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus), green turtle (Chelonia mydas), Hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus) and bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus). To date 26 endemic new species have been discovered in the area. Historic and cultural values are very high, as the site includes forts on the dunes and part of the city of Port Royal, said to have been the largest city in the Americas, which sank in an earthquake in 1692 and is now a unique archaeological treasure. A management plan is in place, and the University of the West Indies operates research facilities. [27/03/05]

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