Situated 20 km east of Zagora, the site consists of some 40 km of the valley of the Oued Mird and its bordering escarpments and hamada plateaus including, to the south-east, the 15 km by 7 km extinct volcanic crater of Tafenna. The vegetation includes good stands of Acacia raddiana; other species include Ziziphus lotus, Convolvulus trabutianus, Launaea arborescens, Foleyola billotii, Hamada scoparia, Panicum tugidum and Stipagrostis pungens. Annual rainfall is less than 200 mm. Principal human activities are cultivation, in irrigated fields along Oued Mird, and extensive livestock-rearing, particularly of goats.
See Box and Table 2 for key species. The site possesses breeding populations of 14 of the 15 species of the Sahara–Sindian biome in Morocco; only Hirundo obsoleta has not been recorded. Chlamydotis undulata is present in low numbers, but is in danger of extinction.
Non-bird biodiversity: The ungulate Gazella dorcas (LR/nt) is present, and it is suspected that the endemic toad Bufo brongersmai and the endemic lizard Tarentola boehmi may also occur.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The site is a priority 1 SIBE (No. 72). Although it is officially unprotected, local residents enforce their own rules and fines for illegal wood-cutting and have banned foreign hunting parties from entering the valley. The main conservation issue is the growing use of motor-pumps, which threatens to lower the water-table and negatively affect trees along the Oued Mird. Ecotourism plans have been proposed for the Tafenna crater, including its use as a possible reintroduction site for native ungulates.