The site lies in the centre of northern Somalia, extending eastwards along the coast from the village of Maydh and inland towards the town of Ceerigaabo (Erigavo) on top of the scarp of the limestone mountains that rise steeply from the coastal plain. The site is situated close to Mount Surad Cad, at 2,408 m the highest point in Somalia, while Jasiira Maydh (site SO002) lies offshore from the site’s northern boundary. The core area consists of a Forest Reserve on the rocky scarp, supporting evergreen forest which consists principally of Juniperus procera, Olea chrysophylla, Dodonaea viscosa, Cadia purpurea and Sideroxylon buxifolium. Much of the forest is degraded, although in places there is a dense understorey of shrubby species, particularly Salvia. Included also are the proposed extensions to the reserve which cover a further 80,000 ha of semi-desert grassland and shrubland, 80,000 ha of Buxus hildebrandtii evergreen and semi-evergreen bushland and thicket, 8,000 ha of Afromontane vegetation and 3,000 ha of mangrove. The coastal section consists of sandy plains with a sparse cover of the grasses Eragrostis hararensis, Panicum turgidum and Asthenatherum glaucum. Inland, Acacia–Commiphora bushland and thicket gives way to the juniper forest and Afromontane vegetation at higher altitudes. Average annual rainfall at the top of the scarp is c.650 mm.
See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. The site is a stronghold for Carduelis johannis which has been reported as being not uncommon in cleared areas within and around the forest, although it is not thought to be dependent on the forest itself. Rhynchostruthus socotranus occurs at this site.
Non-bird biodiversity: The mammal Gazella dorcas pelzelni (VU), confined to Somalia and Djibouti, occurs in the proposed northern coastal extension of the Forest Reserve, while Equus africanus somalicus (CR) and Dorcatragus megalotis (VU) are recorded from the proposed eastward extension.
BirdLife International (2019) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Daalo. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 16/12/2019.