The site lies c.360 km west of Accra, near the town of Axim. It includes the freshwater Amansuri lagoon (including the village of Nzulenso which is built on stilts in the lagoon), the flood-plains of the Amansuri river, the coastal Amansuri lagoon and estuary, and the sandy Esiama beach, between the Amansuri and Ankobra rivers. The site covers c.40% of the total catchment of the Amansuri river. The wetland is a blackwater system. The vegetation in the catchment is Wet Evergreen Forest, with swamp-forest in wetter parts. The most common tree in the swamps is the Raffia Palm Raphiavinifera, which grows in almost pure stands. The large spiny aroid Cyrtosperma senegalense grows along the edge of the raffia while the drier patches support mainly sedges and grasses. The area is subject to seasonal flooding and the nature of the terrain is such that access is very difficult and, as a consequence, large areas are largely untouched.
See Box for key species. The coastal areas of the Amansuri catchment, including the coastal lagoon, estuary and Esiama beach, support appreciable numbers of waterbirds. Other common species occurring at the site include Pluvialis squatarola, Charadrius hiaticula, Tringa hypoleucos and Arenaria interpres. Up to 30 Haematopus ostralegus are regularly seen on the beach, the only site along the Ghana coast where the species is seen with any degree of frequency. In addition to Sterna maxima, small flocks of S. sandvicensis, S. hirundo and Chlidonias niger also regularly roost on sandbanks in the estuary. Species occurring in the inland freshwater lagoon and swamp areas include gallinules, crakes and jacanas. The avifauna of the rest of the catchment has not been studied.
Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Amansuri wetland is the largest stand of intact swamp-forest in Ghana and its value is further enhanced by the fact that large areas are still in a relatively pristine condition. The fauna of the site, as with most blackwater areas, is species-poor; however, the communities present are distinctive. With current rates of population growth and development, unless action is taken now to safeguard this unique area, it is likely to suffer the fate of numerous other coastal wetlands, which have become completely degraded. The area is being considered as a Community Nature Reserve, with the possibility of Ramsar designation, under a project being implemented by the Ghana Wildlife Society, with funding from the Netherlands Government. Because of the large size of the catchment and the high population density in some parts, a zonation system will be necessary to focus conservation action on the most biologically important and intact areas. The freshwater lagoon is fished by the Nzulenso community; the fishing is regulated by a wide range of well-enforced taboos, aimed at ensuring sustainability and preventing pollution of the lagoon waters.
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Amansuri wetland. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 19/01/2020.