The Annotated Ramsar List: Benin
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The Annotated Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance
BENIN / BÉNIN
The Convention on Wetlands came into force for Benin on 24 May 2000. Benin presently has 4 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance, with a surface area of 1,179,354 hectares.
site; date of designation; region, province, state; surface area; coordinates
site; date de désignation; région, province, état; superficie; coordonnées
sitios; fecha de designación; región, provincia, estado; área; coordenadas
Basse Vallée de l’Ouémé, Lagune de Porto-Novo, Lac Nokoué. 24/01/00; 91,600 ha; 06°39’N, 002°32’E. The coastal area between Cotonou and the capital Porto Novo at the mouth of the Ouémé River, varied ecosystems comprising swamp forest (Mitragyna inermis, Raphia hookeri) and periodically inundated forest (Berliniagrandiflora, Dalium guineense); flooded prairies of Paspalum vaginatum and Typhaaustralis, and floating vegetation dominated by water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) and water lettuce (Pistia stratiotes); and mangrove plantations (Rhizophoraracemosa). Some 78 species of fish have been identified, and 168 species of birds, as well as sitatunga, several pythons, and terrestrial and marine tortoises. Human uses include fishing by 24,000 professional and 13,000 seasonal fisherpeople, bringing employment to some 200,000 people in total; agricultural production, chiefly of manioc, maïs, sugar cane, sweet potatos, and market gardening. Palm trees (Raphiahookeri) are the object of strong economic activities in construction, palm wine, etc. Ramsar site no. 1018. Most recent RIS information: ?.
Basse Vallée du Couffo, Lagune Côtiere, Chenal Aho, Lac Ahémé. 24/01/00; 47,500 ha; 06°30’N 002°00’E. Comprising Lac Ahémé, some 24km in a north-south direction, the Kouffo River as it enters the lake near Bopa in the north, and the marshy areas extending ca.10km from the lake to the Atlantic Ocean. Main ecosystems include mangroves, swamp, flooded grassland, and artifical formations resulting from the coconut palm industry. Local fishery employs about 10,000 fishermen, and the harvesting of crabs and oysters is reserved exclusively for women. There is also significant production of salt and palm wine and culture of maïs and market garden products. Ramsar site no. 1017. Most recent RIS information: ?.
Site Ramsar du Complexe W.02/02/07; Alibori; 895,480 ha; 11°50'N 002°30'E. National Park, part of UNESCO Transboundary Biosphere Reserve. Comprises the W du Benin National Park and other protected zones, as well as the free zone between the Park and the River Niger (which is state protected and offers right of use to inhabitants). It is bordered by Burkina Faso (Arli-W-Singou complex) and Niger (W National Park). Its diversified landscape has a rugged relief and is made up of rivers, ponds, meadows and floodplains, gallery forests and savannah. The site is host to the most important savanna population of the African Elephant (Loxodonta Africana) in West Africa, populations of the Cheetah (Acinonyx jubitus) and the West African Manatee (Trichechus senegalensis). Significant numbers of waterbirds have been recorded, and the floodplains of the rivers Niger, Mékrou and Alibori offer a breeding ground and passage zone for fish species like Alestes baremoze, Distichodus rostratus, Labeo senegalensis and Citharinus citharinus. It serves as reception point for surface water runoff and is important for water infiltration, recharge of groundwater, sediment trapping, and flood control and thus contributes to improving the quality of waters in the area. The site is important for tourism, environmental education and fish production, and it holds traditionally sacred sites such as the Koudou Falls. Threats to the site include poaching, illegal farming, toxic fishing methods and bush fires. A new management law for protected areas, aiming at participative management, has been elaborated and submitted to the National Assembly for adoption. Ramsar site no. 1668. Most recent RIS information: 2007.
Zone humide de la rivière Pendjari.02/02/07; Atacora; 144,774 ha; 11°37'N 001°40'E. National Park, UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Covers part of the Pendjari National Park at the Benin-Burkina Faso border, the main feature of which is the River Pendjari alluvial plains in the Volta Basin. This is one of the most important humid ecosystems in the sub-sahelian zone of West Africa and is characterized by gallery forests, savannah and swampy meadows, alluvial plains, ponds, rivers, and dense dry forests within floodplains. This combination of ecosystems makes the site a home to the lion, the African elephant, cheetah, and many of species of birds. The ponds serve as water retention points during the dry season, thus attracting animals and tourists, and the site plays an important role in sediment retention and shoreline stabilization. The main ethnic groups are the Bialbe, Gourmantchés and Wama who inhabit the buffer zone of the Pendjari Biosphere Reserve and have the right to use its natural resources; their main activities include agriculture, animal breeding, fishing and hunting. Its historic and archaeological value can be seen in archaeo-metallurgic areas found there. The transhumance nature of animal breeding presents a source for pathogen introduction in this region. There is a management plan drawn up for the Biosphere Reserve and a business plan aimed at sustainable tourism. The formation of a departmental and communal Ramsar committee is under way. Ramsar site no. 1669. Most recent RIS information: 2007.