Laag Badaana (Lach Badana or Bushbush) is located in the extreme south of the country where it shares a common boundary with Boni Forest Reserve on the Kenyan side of the border. The vegetation includes c.100,000 ha of predominantly Acacia–Commiphora savanna over the drier, inland areas of the park. Along the coast, from sea-level to c.50 m altitude, there is c.200,000 ha of forest–savanna mosaic on lime-rich, sandy soils at the northern extremity reached by coastal lowland forest in eastern Africa. Of particular note is Hola Wajeer forest (01°11’S 41°34’E) which is dominated by Afzelia quanzensis, Cecchia somalensis, Delonix elata and Parkia filicoidea. The understorey is poorly developed due to the dense mid-stratum at 10–15 m and the canopy at 25–30 m. The forest contains patches of palm woodland of Hyphaene sp. The site also includes 34,000 ha of mangrove, comprised principally of Bruguiera gymnorrhiza, Ceriops tagal, Lumnitzera racemosa, Rhizophora mucronata and Sonneratia alba. The mangroves are centred round the estuaries of three small rivers which flow through the site and reach the ocean in close proximity to one another. The interior of the park has good supplies of surface water, including semi-permanent water-holes. Also included are a number of the small islands of the Bajun archipelago, which lies immediately offshore. The main islets are Raas Matooni Ilisi, Koyaama, Guumme, Jofay and Juula, which extend in a line a little way north-eastwards up the coast towards Kismaayo. A series of coral reefs stretches between the islands, forming an almost continuous barrier.
See Box and Table 3 for key species. Acrocephalus griseldis has also been recorded as a winter visitor; this site, by inference from what is known of the wintering quarters of the bird in adjacent coastal Kenya, may prove to be important for the species. Of the Somali–Masai biome species, Mirafra poecilosterna, Turdus tephronotus, Vidua hypocherina and Lamprotornis shelleyi have been recorded from few other IBAs in Somalia. There are old breeding records of Sterna dougallii, S. repressa, S. anaethetus, S. fuscata and Anous stolidus from the Bajan islands. The coastal waters of this site are important feeding grounds for large numbers of terns, and mainland and island areas are used for roosting; it is possible that numbers of these and other waterbirds could exceed 20,000.
Non-bird biodiversity: An extensive list of mammals of conservation concern occur, or used to do so. These include Rhynchocyon chrysopygus (EN), Crocuta crocuta (LR/cd), Lycaon pictus (EN), Panthera leo (VU), Acinonyx jubatus (VU), Loxodonta africana (EN), Diceros bicornis (CR), Giraffa camelopardalis (LR/cd), Oryx beisa (LR/cd), Litocranius walleri (LR/cd), Gazella granti (LR/cd), Ourebia ourebi (LR/cd), Cephalophus harveyi (LR/cd), C. adersi (EN), Tragelaphus imberbis (LR/cd), Beatragushunteri (CR), Damaliscus lunatus (LR/cd), Kobus ellipsiprymnus (LR/cd) and Syncerus caffer (LR/cd). In 1960, a herd of 600 dugong Dugong dugon (VU) was recorded from the area around the Bajun islands. Here green turtle Chelonia mydas (EN) and hawksbill turtle Eretmochelys imbricata (CR) also occur, but there is no evidence of nesting.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The area has been proposed as a National Park. As with all forests in Somalia, forests at this site are threatened by over-harvesting for timber, coppice, fuelwood and browse. However, settled human populations in the area are relatively limited, largely as a result of the presence of tsetse fly. There are nonetheless seasonal movements of large numbers of livestock through the park. Grazing of vegetation on the coastal dunes could result in their destabilization. Turtles are regularly caught in fishermens’ nets; it is estimated that up to 4,000 are taken annually.
BirdLife International (2019) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Laag Badaana. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 22/05/2019.