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Vegetation description

Mangrove forests are well developed in Senegal. South of the Gambia, mangroves occupy the Casamance estuary, where they form a large strip on the northern bank of the river, 6 km wide between Ziguinchor and Tobor and then narrowing down until they appear only on small islands or in the form of narrow fringes on the bank as far inland as Devil's Island upstream of Sédhiou. Mangroves are not so extensive on the southern bank of the Casamance but still there are two major stands, a westerly one lying between Kabrousse and Karabane and averaging 10 km in width and an eastern one separated from the former by a section of solid ground and stretching from Pointe Saint George to the border with Guinea, then lining both banks of the Kamabeul. The mangroves between the Kamabeul and Ziguinchor form a strip between 1.5 and 2 km wide, and then they occur only as a very broken, narrow fringe. The Casamance mangroves mainly consist of Rhizophora racemosa and Avicennia africana. The former occurs in almost pure stands along backwaters and represents pioneer vegetation in areas where mud is most recent and least consolidated. As soon as the soil becomes drier and sandier, the main species is Avicennia africana, also invading abandoned paddy fields, now affected by tides. Bushy shrubs typical of saline soils, especially Conocarpus erectus, occur on the edges of mangroves where the ground is more solid.

North of the Gambia, mangroves are found on the saline land of Sine-Saloum, which was previously completely covered by them. Their range has now shrunk to the tidal part of the estuary and the coast between the mouths of the Saloum and the Gambia, where Rhizophora racemosa and Avicennia africana grow in dense stands.

Lastly, there is a mangrove forest of Rhizophora racemosa and Avicennia africana often has to compete with groups of halophilous grasses Sporobulus robustus and Paspalum vaginatum in the very north of the country, between the mouth and the island of the Thiong River, and also in the area between the Loll and Senegal Rivers

FAO, UNEP. 1981. Tropical forest resources assessment project. Forest resources of tropical Africa. Part II: Country Briefs. FAO, UNEP. 586 pp.

National level mangrove area estimates







175 700

FAO, UNEP. 1981. Tropical Forest Resources Assessment Project, Forest Resources of Tropical Africa. Part II: Country Briefs FAO, UNEP 586pp.


Information based on: FAO. 1975. Mise en valeur de la Basse et Moyenne Casamance - Inventaire forestier. Rapport préparé par le centre technique forestier tropical - Project DP/SEN/71/552 - 1/FO -Nogent-sur-Marne (France) and FAO. 1978. Mise en valeur de la Basse et Moyenne Casamance - Inventaire forestier. Rapport final (sylviculture). par R. Lang. DP/SEN/71/552 - 1/FO -Nogent-sur-Marne (France)


169 000

FAO, UNEP. 1981. Tropical Forest Resources Assessment Project, Forest Resources of Tropical Africa. Part II: Country Briefs. FAO, UNEP 586pp.


Estimation based on 1978 information.


440 000

Saenger, P., Hegerl E.J. and J.D.S., Davie. 1983. Global status of mangrove ecosystems. Commission on Ecology Papers No.3. IUCN. Gland, Switzerland. 88 pp.


Secondary reference, no primary source provided.

The "Year" is publication year.


183 000

Spalding, M.D., Blasco, F. and Field, C.D., eds. 1997. World Mangrove Atlas. The International Society for Mangrove Ecosystems, Okinawa, Japan. 178 pp.


Map analysis. Scale: 1:1 000 000


182 400

Piot J., Ly A., Gueye I. 1991. Etude sur la gestion des ressources forestières et des terroirs villageois. Elaboration du Plan d’action forestier du Sénégal. FAO, Rome.


Ground survey


500 000

Diop, E.S. and Bâ, M. 1993. Mangroves of Sénégal and Gambia. In: Diop, E.S. 1993. Conservation and sustainable utilization of mangrove forests in Latin America and Africa regions, Part II - Africa. p. 19-37. Mangrove Ecosystems Technical Reports vol.3 ITTO/ISME Project PD114/90. Okinawa, Japan, ISME. 262 pp.


The figure represents the total extent of mangroves in Senegal and Gambia


185 300

Saenger, P. and Bellan, M.F. 1995. The Mangrove vegetation of the Atlantic coast of Africa. Universitè de Toulouse Press, Toulouse 96 pp.


Secondary reference, no primary source provided.

The "Year" is the publication year.


180 000

Aizpuru, M., Achard, F., and Blasco, F. 2000. Global Assessment of Cover Change of the Mangrove Forests using satellite imagery at medium to high resolution. In EEC Research project n 15017-1999-05 FIED ISP FR – Joint Research center, Ispra.


Extrapolation for the national figure based on the remote sensing case study ‘The Sine Saloum Coast’.

Trends in mangrove area extent over time

The estimates for 1980, 1990 and 2000 are based on trend analysis and expert estimate.

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