The Falaise de Bandiagara is part of the Dogon plateau in the south-central part of Mali, to the east of the Inner Delta, some 90 km east of Mopti. The site is centred on the town of Sanga and bounded by the roads and tracks linking the towns and villages of Diankabou, Bankas, Ouo, Bandiagara, Dé, Berdossou and Diankabou. The area comprises three distinct geographical features; the Bandiagara plateau to the west, the Bandiagara escarpment running north-east–south-west through the middle of the site and the Séno plain to the east. The altitude of the plateau varies between 400 and 500 m, with a peak of 777 m at Bamba. The plateau is sandstone and is punctuated with holes, faults and caves that link up with springlines along the base of the cliffs. The escarpment extends for over 150 km, and varies in height from 100 m in the south to over 500 m in the north. It is broken by ravines, gorges and rocky passages connecting the plain with the plateau. Near Sanga there are sheer cliff-faces as well as rock outcrops. The Séno plain, at around 250 m in altitude, consists of sandy steppes and damp or flooded depressions with scattered trees, dissected by large rocky riverbeds which seasonally hold water. The plateau has a typical Sudan savanna flora, including communities of Daniella oliveri, Butyrospermum parkii, Parkia biglobosa, Terminalia macroptera, Khaya senegalensis and bushy species such as Combretum micranthum, Heeria insignis and Guiera senegalensis. Dense vegetation is present in steep-sided ravines as a result of water retained in rock fissures. On the low-lying plain there is a preponderance of Sahelian species such as Acacia albida, Combretum aculeatum and the introduced Tamarindus indica, with Borassus aethiopum and the grass Andropogon gayanus in humid depressions. Adansonia digitata and Vittelaria paradoxa are also frequent. A series of dams on ephemeral watercourses, which hold water for much, if not all, of the year have allowed an aquatic and semi-aquatic vegetation to develop, predominantly Nymphaea maculata, Naias graminea, Cyperus sp. and floating carpets of Pistia stratiotes, Neptunia oleracea and Ipomoea reptans. Average annual rainfall is 529 mm.
See Box and Table 2 for key species.
Non-bird biodiversity: Mammal species that occur in the area, or used to do so, include Vulpes pallida (DD), Lycaon pictus (EN), Gazella dorcas (VU) and Gazella dama (EN). Acridocarpus monodii (R), a localized endemic plant, is found at Kikara.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
There is much pressure on the land from various forms of agriculture, including the cultivation of ground-nuts, millet and sorghum. Fuelwood-cutting is also a potential threat.