Western Africa and biodiversity
Last Updated: April 13, 2007
United Nations Environment Programme (Content Partner); Mark McGinley (Topic Editor). 2007. "Western Africa and biodiversity." In: Encyclopedia of Earth. Eds. Cutler J. Cleveland (Washington, D.C.: Environmental Information Coalition, National Council for Science and the Environment). [First published February 1, 2007; Last revised April 13, 2007; Retrieved May 21, 2007]. All text is available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike license
The wide range of ecosystems â€“ forests, savannahs, deserts, rivers, mountains, mangroves and seas â€“ makes the sub-region rich in biodiversity. The Sahelian zone has several wetlands, including the Niger and Senegal rivers, Lake Chad and floodlands in Senegal and Niger which are very important for migratory birds. The inner Niger delta is a vast floodplain (more than 30,000 km2) situated in the middle of the Sahelian landscape, rich in natural resources and featuring varied ecosystems (lakes, forest floodplains, flooded grasslands and savannah) which supports the livelihoods of 1 million people. The delta is also well known as a wintering and staging area for million of migratory birds. Other important sub-regional biodiversity values include the west African manatee, a globally endangered species. The Guinea forest contains half the mammal species on the African continent, including the rare pygmy hippopotamus, the zebra duiker and the drill, the most threatened primate.