The Annotated Ramsar List: United Republic of Tanzania


The Annotated Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance


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The Convention on Wetlands came into force for the United Republic of Tanzania on 13 August 2000. Tanzania presently has 4 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance, with a surface area of about 4,868,424 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

Kilombero Valley Floodplain.25/04/02; Morogoro Region; 796,735 ha; 08°40'S 036°10'E. A floodplain some 260km by 52km fed by many rivers and with huge seasonal variations in the water dynamics, embodying an exceptionally wide variety of wetland types and fulfilling all eight of the Ramsar Criteria. High concentrations of large mammals, especially Puku antelope Kobus vardoni (with nearly 75% of the world population), buffalo, elephant, hippotamus, and lion, are supported, and three endemic birds are known. Two fish species (Citharinus congicus and Alestes stuhlmanni) are endemic to the site and downstream in the Rufiji River. Fishing has traditionally been the primary resource use, though agriculture (especially rice farming) is rapidly expanding, as is cattle grazing due to immigrant pastoralists. Irish Aid has been active in supporting wise use development projects since 1999, and it is planned that Ramsar designation will be followed up by Government wise use initiatives with support from Danish Foreign Aid (Danida). Tourism is largely represented by organized hunting in the dry season, which communities feel bring few local economic benefits. Ramsar site no. 1173. Most recent RIS information: 2002.

Lake Natron Basin.04/07/01. Arusha Region. 224,781 ha. 02°21’S 036°00’E. A closed alkaline lake basin in the bottom of the Gregory Rift part of the Great Rift Valley, contiguous with the Kenyan frontier, surrounded by escarpments and volcanic mountains, one of which is active. It is the only regular breeding area for Lesser Flamingos in east Africa, with about 2.5 million individuals, and provides support for an estimated 100,000 individuals of other waterbird species, many of them Palearctic migrants. The fish Oreochromis alcalicus appears to be endemic to Lake Natron and Lake Magadi in Kenya. A number of permanent streams and rivers provide relief in a very dry and almost inaccessible environment. The Maasai tribe practice extensive, largely semi-nomadic pastoralism within the site. Some tourism, chiefly game viewing, birdwatching, and mountain climbing, occurs, especially in conjunction with Ngorongoro Crater, Olduvai Gorge, and other well-known attractions not far from the site, though recently "the security situation has been far from stable". A proposed hydropower plant for the Ewaso Ngiro River in Kenya and planned soda ash exploitation in Lake Natron itself are seen as potential threats.Ramsar site no. 1080.Most recent RIS information: 2001.

Malagarasi-Muyovozi Wetlands.13/04/00. Kigoma, Shinyanga, & Tabora. 3,250,000 ha. 05°00’S 0031°00’E. The Ramsar site is a vast and complex riverine floodplain wetland in the basin of the Malagarasi River in northwest Tanzania, is one of the largest and most important wetlands in East Africa. The basin has five main rivers, the Malagarasi, Moyowosi, Kigosi, Gombe, and Ugalla, which drain an area of 9.2 million ha (about 30% of the Lake Tanganyika catchment system). The core area of the Ramsar site comprises lakes and open water in tbe dry season covering about 250,000 ha, together with a permanent papyrus swamp of about 200,000 ha with large peripheral floodplains that fluctuate widely on a yearly basis, depending on the amount of rainfall, but cover up to 1.5 million ha. The wetland habitats are surrounded by very extensive miombo woodlands and wooded grasslands which are part of a larger region of forests and wetlands covering about 15 million ha in western Tanzania. The site is extremely important for large mammals, migratory and resident waterbirds, fish and plants (with perhaps as many as 50 indigenous fish species), as well as providing significant livelihood support to local communities. Major livelihood activities in the site are fishing, hunting, honey gathering, harvesting forest products and cattle grazing. The majority (95%) of the Ramsar Site is within protected areas (game reserves and forest reserves), while the balance is in district or village lands. Ramsar site no. 1024. Most recent RIS information: 1999.

Rufiji-Mafia-Kilwa Marine Ramsar site.29/10/04; Coast, Lindi Regions; 596,908 ha; 08°08'S 039°38'E. A complex of coastal and marine habitats, comprising the delta of the Rufiji River; the Mafia Island about 25km offshore and surrounding smaller islands, sandbars, and coral reefs; the Songo-Songo Archipelago to the south; and adjacent waters, i.e. the Mafia Channel and waters between Mafia and Songo-Songo. A large part is composed of mangrove forests (an estimated 55,000 ha) as well as extensive intertidal flats, seagrass beds, and sandbars, all thought to be ecologically interlinked with the flow of the river. Songo-Songo has a highly diverse and extensive coral assemblage with records of 49 genera of hard and 12 genera of soft corals. Five species of globally threatened marine turtles have been recorded, including Green Turtle and Hawksbill, as well as a small population of Dugong dugong. A count in the delta alone in 2001 recorded 40,160 waterbirds of 62 species at a minimum. The delta's artisanal fishery of about 7,000 fishermen produces about 4,500 tonnes of finfish per annum, as well as prawns, and thousands of families in Songo-Songo and on Mafia similarly make their livings from fishing. Fishing and extraction of other coastal and mangrove resources, as well as cultivation (especially rice), seaweed farming, and tourism are the major activities within the site. Ramsar site no. 1443. Most recent RIS information: 2004.

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Number of » Contracting Parties: 168 Sites designated for the
» List of Wetlands of
International Importance
2,186 Total surface area of designated sites (hectares): 208,674,247

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