Northern Commewijne/ Marowijne

Country/territory: Suriname

IBA Criteria met: A2, A4i, A4iii (2008)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 333,423 ha

Site summary
North Commewijne/Marowijne IBA has been established as a Multiple-use Management area (MUMA) in 2002. It has an area of approximately 97,500 ha of land and almost an equal size of marine waters, and includes the Wia Wia Nature Reserve (12,000 ha). The reserve has been established in 1961 and enlarged in 1969. The reserve has also been declared a Hemispheric Reserve and twinned with Mary’s Point of Shepody National Wildlife Area and Shepody Bay in New Brunswick, Canada in 1989. The Management of the MUMA has been put in the hands of the Head of the Surinam Forerst Service. The area comprises of black-mangrove forest (Avicennia germinans) of several kilometer wide along the coast with scattered narrow shell and sand beaches which are mainly covered with herb vegetation such as Canavalium maritima and Ipomoea pes-caprae. These beaches serve as important nesting grounds for five species of marine turtles: Dermochelys coreacea, Chelonia mydas, Eretmochelys imbricata, Lepidochelys olivacea and Caretta caretta. Some of these beaches, as the Matapica/Walapakreek and Braamspunt beaches, have therefore been developed for tourism and recreational activities, particularly sea turtle watching. Along the coast there are also mud flats. Black-mangrove forests are also found along the Suriname River estuary, as well as in parts of the abandoned plantations. There are also deep salt water lagoons with submerged Ruppia maritime and/or Nymphaea ampla) vegetation, and silted up lagoons with halophytic herb vegetation with Sesuvium portulacastrum, Batis maritima and Sporobolus virginicus The water may vary from hyper saline to fresh water and the depth in the lagoons may vary between approx. 30 cm in the dry season to approx. 70 cm in the rainy season. Some parts dry up in the long dry season. More inland some black-mangrove forest, brackish short and tall grass swamps, brackish to freshwater short grass swamps and permanent freshwater swamps are found covered with Eleocharis mutata, Cyperus articulates, Leersia hexandr, Typha angustifolia. Machaerium lunatum and Erythrina glauca. The area has also some hydrophytic swamp wood forest consisting of Pterocarpus officinalis and high hydrophytic swamp forest with Virola surinamensis, Symphonia globulifera and Euterpe oleracea. There are also some shell and sand ridges running in east-west direction and covered with mixed xerophytic coastal wood and forest, locally rich in cactuses (Cereus hexagonus). The area is connected with the sea by several creeks. The water depth varies between approx. 30 cm in the dry season to approx. 70 cm in the rainy season. Some parts dry up in the dry season 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. The area is also known for its aquaculture and cattle breeding activities.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Northern Commewijne/ Marowijne. Downloaded from on 29/01/2023.