The Boucle du Baoulé Biosphere Reserve is located in the south of the country, some 160 km north-west of the capital Bamako. The Biosphere Reserve incorporates the Boucle du Baoulé National Park and the contiguous faunal reserves of Badinko to the south-west, Fina to the south-east and Kongossambougou to the north-east. All except the last, which lies its northern side, are enclosed within the large loop of the Baoulé river which gives the reserve system its name. The area is almost entirely sandstone, cut by erosion into a series of plateaux, dissected by valleys and flood-plains. In the south there are steep escarpments flanking large valleys. The rivers within the reserve are semi-permanent. The vegetation is semi-arid Sahelian bushland in the north and Sudan–Guinea Savanna woodland in the south (Combretum, Acacia, Butyrospermum and Isoberlinia spp.). Dense riverine forest occurs along the Baoulé river and its major tributaries, as well as bordering marshes and larger lakes. The herbaceous layer is characterized by perennial grasses, notably Andropogon gayanus. There are human settlements within the site and human use is increasing, particularly in the north. Most of the region (>90%) is burnt each year from mid-October. Mean annual rainfall varies between 650 mm in the north and 1,000 mm in the south.
See Box and Table 2 for key species. In addition, two species characteristic of the Sahel biome (A03) are known from the site (see Table 2).
Non-bird biodiversity: Of the larger mammals which once occurred in the reserve, Loxodonta africana (EN), Giraffa camelopardalis (LR/cd) and Tragelaphus derbianus (LR/nt) are known to have been eliminated. Some of the following may still occur, although any that do are likely to be at low densities: Panthera leo (VU) and Acinonyx jubatus (VU).
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The site was declared a Biosphere Reserve in 1982, and some modifications to its boundaries were made in 1994 which resulted in a reduction in the size of its core area. The area has a long history of human use and agriculture, and grazing and wood-cutting have all affected the current character of the savanna such that the remaining habitat is highly degraded. The reserve is under pressure from ground-nut-growers, transhumant pastoralists, poachers, hunters, firewood-cutters and sedentary farmers. Annual burning has degraded much of the wooded savanna habitat.
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Boucle du Baoulé. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 01/08/2021.