Burkina Faso has added Barrage de Samandéni to the List of Wetlands of International Importance. This new “Ramsar Site” (no. 2439 on the List) is located in the West Sudanian savannah in southern Burkina Faso, and benefits from a wetter and cooler climate than the rest of the country, and its least disturbed forest formations due to the relatively low human population density of the region.
The dam and associated wetlands provide water for electricity, agriculture and human consumption, while the sparse population plays a major role in enabling the maintenance of biodiversity levels.
The vegetation consists of wooded savannah and open forests, combined with dense semi-deciduous gallery forests with trees of up to 40 metres in height. The Site hosts internationally threatened tree species like the kosso Pterocarpus erinaceus and the mahogany Afzelia africana and Khaya senegalensis. It also features a diverse range of mammals, waterbirds, fish and reptiles. Globally threatened mammals such as the Hippo Hippopotamus amphibius and the African elephant Loxodonta africana also feature.
The increasing human population downstream of the Site, the increased spread among local communities of water-related diseases, the dispersal of hippopotamus herds, the impacts of climate change and the lack of stakeholder consultation in its management and development are among the more urgent threats facing the natural resources in the Site.