The Bigi Pan IBA has been established as a Multiple-use Management area (MUMA) in 1987 and has a size of approximately 68,000 ha of land and an equal area of marine waters. The area also includes the Hertenrits Nature Reserve (100 ha) established in 1972. The reserve is a mound and an archaeological site with pre-Columbian artifacts. The MUMA is a Hemispheric Reserve and twinned with Mary’s Point of Shepody National Wildlife Area and Shepody Bay in New Brunswick, Canada in 1989. Mudflats and extensive mangrove forests of Avicennia germinans of several kilometers width are found along the coast and forests of Rhizophora mangle and Laguncularia racemosa occur along the banks of river and creek Behind these forests there are salt water ponds with Ruppia maritima and brackish ponds and lagoons with Ruppia maritima and Nymphae ampla. There are also shallow salt water swamps with halophytic herb vegetation, dominated by Sesuvium portulacastrum, or Batis maritima or Sporobolus virginicus. Furthermore, brackish to fresh water short grass swamps with Eleocharis mutata, Cyperus articulatus, Leersia hexandra or Typha angustifolia, brackish to fresh water swamp wood dominated with Erythrina glauca. Also mixed marsh forest on younger river banks, mixed ridge forest on mounds occur. There are also several open water lagoons in the area. The salinity of the water varies from hyper saline to fresh water and the depth of the water varies from approximately 50 cm in the dry season to approx. 1 meter in the rainy season. Parts of the lagoons surrounding the Bigi Pan lagoon dry up in the dry season although some may dry up totally in the long dry season. The Bigi Pan lagoon which is the largest and the best known lagoon in the MUMA never dries up The area is known for its high biological production, breeding and feeding grounds for large numbers of local and migratory bird species and nursery ground for fish and shrimp. It has a rich population of fish, shrimp, wildlife and crabs. Plenty people of the local population have their living in fisheries and hunting in the area. In the Bigi Pan lagoon also tourist activities, in particular “bird watching” takes place. The soil of the entire estuarine zone is very fertile and as such very suitable for rice cultivation. Therefore a great number of rice fields have been developed in the direct vicinity of the MUMA. Some of these rice fields borders the MUMA and some are situated within the MUMA.
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Bigi Pan. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 29/01/2023.