Dinder National Park

Sudan
Date of Submission: 02/02/2021
Criteria: (vii)(ix)(x)
Category: Natural
Submitted by:
Permanent Delegation of Sudan to UNESCO
State, Province or Region:
Sennar, Blue Nile and Gadarief States
Coordinates: 12° 50' - 11° 45' 36° 00' - 34° 30'
Ref.: 6515

Description

Dinder National Park (DNP) is located in the southeast of the central region of the Sudan (North-eastern Blue Nile state and South-eastern Sennar State) towards the Ethiopian border. Dinder, because of its richness in biodiversity is designated a National Park in 1935 following the London convention (1933) for the conservation of African flora and fauna. It is one of the oldest parks in Africa, covering an area of 10,291 km².

Three types of ecosystems are recognized in Dinder namely Acacia seyal – Balinites ecosystem, Riverine ecosystem and Mayas (Meadows) ecosystem. The woodland ecosystem constitutes most of the area of the park. The dominant tree species of woodland ecosystem are Talih (Acacia seyal), Habeel (Combretum spp.) and Higleig (Balanities aegyptiaca) it appear in a pure or mixed stands. The common annual grasses are Addar (Sorghum purpurea-sercum) Um Sarha (Hyparrheria pseudocymbaria), El Gowou (Aristida plumosa) and Danab El Bashoum (Pennisetumr amosum).

In the relatively low rainfall area of woodland ecosystem the Kitir (Acacia mellifra) is dominant woody plant that occurs in dense stands with Mahareib (Cymbopogon nervatus). Towards the southern part of the reserve which receives high rainfall species with higher water requirement appear e.g. (Sterculia cieral), Abanos (Dalbergia spp.) and Sahab (Anogeisous leiocarpus). Abdel Hameed et. al (1997) found that the herbaceous cover mostly composed of Comositae, Acanthacae, Convolulaceae spp. Celosiaagrentia, Jatrophaspp., Vernoria spp. and Hibiscus spp. The understory of this ecosystem composed of tall annual grasses such as Sorghum sudanensis, Pennisetum ramosum and Setaria incrassata.

Woodland ecosystem is divided into three major communities based on the relative amounts of rainfall and topography the first community covers the area north khor Galegu and east of the River Dinder. This community, which is the driest, falls on the optimum zone of Acacia seyal and Balanites aegyptiaca and shows the best performance of the two tree species. The second community covers the area south of khor Galegu and east of River Dinder, it is the wettest of the three communities. Trees are healthy and vigorous. The third community covers the area west River Dinder. The precipitation is intermediate between community 1 and community 2.

Riverine ecosystem occurs in silt, clay loam and sands along the banks of the river Dinder and river Rahad and the large seasonal streams. This ecosystem composed of multi layered forest which varies in depth according to local conditions of soil and relief. The dominant trees are Dom (Hyphaene thebaica), Abu Gawi (Gardenia lutea), Kuk (Acacia sieberiana), Aradieb (Tamarindus indica), Jomez (Ficus spp.) and Sidir (Ziziphus spina-christi) (Ziziphus abyssinica). The Dom palm is not found elsewhere in this state, contributing to landscape and has ethetic value. While the most dominant grasses are Ageig (Aristidaspp.), Ghabash (Schocnefeldia gracilis), Furaw (Bracharia uniseta) and Banu (Erogrostic tremila) with different species of forbs and climbers form the ground floor layer. The dominant trees of the clay plains are Acacia seyal and Balinites aegyptiaca, Acacia fistula is associated with Acacia seyal in areas of heavy clay which are slightly wetter than the general plain. Combretum sp. and Entanda africana are found in drained silty soils. Combretum hartmannianum and Anogeissus leiocarpus are the most an abundant trees along the border of Ethiopia. Hyphaene thebaica and Acacia sieberana occur along the Dinder River in the light colored soils with varying amount of silt. Sorghum sudanense; Beckeropsis uniseta; Hyparrhenia spp and Aristida plumose represented the dominant grasses. The most common shrubs are Dichrostachys glomerata and Mimosa apigra.

The Mayas ecosystem of DNP composed of more than 40 Mayas varying in size and duration of storing water from few months after the rainy season to almost year-round. Mayas are defined as sub-irrigated and dry meadows occupying low lying basins, meander and oxbow lakes along the rivers and principal streams and khors. Those Mayas are being filled during floods in the rainy seasons. They store water sometimes up to the second rainy season. The area of the Mayas vary between 0.194 and 4.518 km2. The edges of all these Mayas are surrounded by trees in a certain consistent pattern. Starting from the periphery of the Mayas, the bands of vegetation consist of Balanites aegyptiaca, Acacia seyal, Acacia siberiana and Ziziphus spina-christi. These bands arranged in an increasing order of water affinity. Mayas are classified into three types: wet young Mayas, moist mature Mayas and dry old Mayas according to their age and status of water affinity.

DBR holds a variety of wildlife species. The most important are tiang (Damaliscus lunatus tiang), reedbuck (Redunca redunca), waterbuck (Kobusellipsiprymnus defasa) roan antelope (Hippotragus equines), oribi (Ourebia ourebia), warthog (Phacochoerus aethiopicu) and Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer caffer) are the major herbivores that inhabit the park. Other animals such as baboon (Papio anubis), Vervet monkey (Chlorocebus aethiopicus) and hussar monkey (Cercopithecus aethiops) are frequent. Greater Kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros) and red-fronted gazelle (Gazella rufifrons) are restricted to certain locations. Each of the three major ecosystems has its own plant and animal communities and each contributing to the overall diversity of the area. The major predators are lion (Pantheraleno), striped hyaena, spotted hyaena and black-backed jackal (Canismesomelas). The African python is found in the riverine zone.

DBR also hosted large varities of birds about 160 spp, including ostrich (Struthiocamelus), greater bustard (Ardeotiskori), leaser bustard (Eupodotissenegalenses), crown crane (Balearica pavonina), Egyptian goose (Atopochenaegyptiacus), guinea fowl (Numarameliagris), marabou stork (Leptopliloscrumeneferus) and grey heron (Ardencinerea). The park has the largest population of Guinea fowl. Dinder also is host to abundant colourful starlings (Spreo spp), bee-eaters (Merops spp), sunbirds (Nectarinia spp), herons (Ardea spp), egrets (Casmerodius spp), rollers (Coracias spp.) and many others. Herons, egrets, marabou storks and pelicans are commonly seen near the ponds. The endangered Arabian bustard (Ardeotis arabs) and greater bustard (Ardeotis kori) also visit the park.

Amphibians are represented by the frogs, mostly the toad species. These are preyed upon by small cats, owls and other bird species, along the riverbed and at the edges of the productive mayas. The riverine ecosystem harbours specialized species of insects such as the small mound builder (Trinervitermes geminatus), and the great mound builder (Macro termites) which are preyed upon by the pangolin (Manistemminckii), Aardvark (Orycteropus after) and other species. The mounds are mostly found in high frequency in the south-eastern part of the park. The other species that is prevalent in the park during the wet season is the Tabanus fly (Tabanidae spps.). The insect species that is of economic importance to the local communities living aground and within the reserve are the bees.

Dinder falls within the clay plains which are believed to have developed in the Pleistocene as a result of deposits of alluvial origin laid down by flooding from the Blue Nile and its tributaries. The soil mainly consists of heavy, dark cracking vertisols broken near the rivers and streams (khors), with areas of sand, sandy loam (azaz) and sandy entisols. The vertisols which are the most extensive in the Dinder are dark, heavy clays and "self-ploughing" soils often known as the black cotton soil. They crack deeply during the early dry season. The entisols dominate the eastern limits of the Dinder towards the foothills of the Ethiopian plateau and along river banks. Since many communities depend on the banks of the rivers in the Dinder for cultivation, the mayas minimized the damage during the floods time especially during high floods. i.e. the flood-plain of the park has a high rate of water retention and natural hazard regulation.

Justification of Outstanding Universal Value

The wetlands (Mayas) are most important and significant natural habitats for the wild animals, and are of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation. They cut down from the drainage system of the Rahad and Dinder rivers, which is run down from the Ethiopian plateau sloping down from 3133 m asl at the south eastern to about 100m asl at the north eastern reaches of the park in Sudan. The Dinder and Rahad rivers and their tributaries are seasonal but retain water in so called pools during the dry season.The Mayas act as tools for water regulation in their drainage pattern. They regulate the floods in Dinder during the rainy season. They are important source of water and of the most nutritious grasses to the herbivores especially during the most severe part of the dry season. The forested ecosystems regulate the climate in the whole Dinder area. Dinder NP as a watershed area, controls water erosion and nutrient cycling and creates fertile soils in the banks of the rivers for plant regeneration and crop production. It acts as seed bank for the natural plants that are not found elsewhere. Dinder is an island of a diversity array of fauna and flora of the region. It has unique floral and faunal communities in its three types of ecosystem. The most striking feature of the park is the presence of these wetlands (mayas).

The global significances of Dinder arises from its geo-physical location. It lies along the transition ecotone between two floristic regions: the Ethiopian highland plateau and the arid Saharan Sudanian biomes. The park also lies along the boundary of two major faunal realms i.e. the Palearctic and Ethiopian region. It is also situated along the north-south flyway of migratory birds. Thus it provides a refuge for large number of migratory birds and protects endemic species, which live in the region or are permanent inhabitants of the reserve. It is a prominant habitat to migrant wildlife species (such as elephants, tiang, roan antelop and others) came from Ethiopia during the rainy season. It is designated by UNESCO a Biosphere Reserve on December 02, 1979. Dinder is also a RAMSAR site as wetland of an international importance since 2005.

Criterion (vii): The wetlands (mayas) are of natural beauty and esthetic features. Mayas are defined as sub-irrigated and dry meadows occupying low lying basins, meander and oxbow lakes along the rivers and principal streams and khors. They developed through succestional stages. The riverine ecosystem harbours specialized species of insects such as the small mound builder (Trinervitermes geminatus), and the great mound builder (Macro termites) gave the park natural beauty.

Criterion (ix): Mayas evolved as result of significant on-going ecological and biological processes during the meandering of Dinder and Rahad  rivers as oxbows along the drainge system of Dinder NP. The wetlands are formed by meanders and oxbows along the rivers. About 40 mayas and pools are part of the drainage systems. Mayas are developed through succestional stages and hence taken 3 evolutionary aged stages from young, mature and old.

Criterion (x): The habitats of the park are very diversified, including aquatic ecosystems (rivers, large and small meadows, ponds) and land ecosystems harbor different animal and plant communities, where grassy areas, brush shrubbery and riperain forests. They offer refuge and protection to fish after the flood season and therefore are a valuable wetland for reactive net when the next flood starts and joins the pools and Mayas to the main channel of Dinder and the Blue Nile. DNP supports the biodiversity that are not found elsewhere in the region, including 27 types of large mammals. Some of these species are threatened and endangered species. About 250 bird species are identified, many of them are migrants. Many members of the fish of the Nile are represented in these habitats. Of the 115 species of fish recorded in the Nile, 32 fish species are found. The habitats of the flood plain, depression, lakes, Mayas and pools are rich in their ichthyofauna and are a major breeding ground for the fish, amphibians, water-dwelling insects and micro fauna which greatly enhance the biodiversity of this wetland. The park protects endemic species which live in the region or are permanent settlers of the Dinder and numerous kinds of fish and insects. Therefore Dinder holds significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity. Some are endangered classified as conservation dependent by IUCN (as Vulnerable in the IUCN Red List), and cited on CITES Appendix II. With regards to lions and the elephants it is the only area in the region where such species still exist.

Statements of authenticity and/or integrity

DNP is a watershed area protecting the most influential feeders of the Blue Nile and their tributaries. The natural habitats in DNP are intact habitats including all elements necessary to hold the wildlife in terms of conservation and protection. Dinder was declared as National Park on the poor savannah belt with an area of 6330 km² in 1935, with the objective of protection of the biodiversity in the region. Further environmental studies were conducted proved that the space is not enough for the movements of wild animals and do not represent an integrated complete environment. Accordingly by the National Parks Regulation of 1935 amended in 1981, the area of Dinder National Park adjusted to 10.291 km2. Then Dinder has adequate size to ensure the complete representation of the features and processes which convey the property’s significance for the conservation of biological diversity and the essential ecosystems to ensure the survival of viable populations of the wildlife species, the migratory ones, and the seasonal breeding and nesting sites of migratory birds. Dinder contains habitats for maintaining the most diverse fauna and flora characteristic of the bio-geographic ecosystems. The bio-physical processes and landform features of the ecosystems inside the park are intact and ecologically sustainable. Nevertheless, to accomodate the adverse effects of the local communities who live nearby Dinder it was designated a BR in 1979. Being a BR, its buffer zone is defined along the core zone of the Dinder. This buffer zone is protected further by a transitional zone which coincides with the areas of greatest human pressure, to accomodate human activities, sustainable development and for more protection of the habitats. DNP lies on the road of migration of African wintering birds during their pass to eastern Africa Rift valley lakes or southward. This location within a much larger ecological complex of habitats ensures its integrity. The altitudinal range within the property together with its diversity of habitat types provide a buffer to climate change impacts and the needs of altitude sensitive plants and animals to find refuge from climate variability.

Comparison with other similar properties

Saryarka - Steppe and Lakes of Northern Kazakhstan comprises two protected areas: Naurzum State Nature Reserve and Korgalzhyn State Nature Reserve totalling 450,344 ha. It features wetlands of outstanding importance for migratory water birds, including globally threatened species. These wetlands are key stopover points and crossroads on the Central Asian flyway of birds from Africa, Europe and South Asia to their breeding places in Western and Eastern Siberia. The 200,000 ha Central Asian steppe areas included in the property provide a valuable refuge for over half the species of the region’s steppe flora, a number of threatened bird species and the critically endangered Saiga antelope, formerly an abundant species much reduced by poaching. The property a watershed between rivers flowing north to the Arctic and south into the Aral-Irtysh basin.

DNP is also a watershed area protecting the most influential feeders of the Blue Nile and their tributaries. DNP lies on the road of migration of African wintering birds during their pass to eastern Africa Rift valley lakes or southward. Thus it provides a refuge for large number of migratory birds and protects endemic species, which live in the region or are permanent inhabitants of the reserve. It is a prominant habitat to the migrant wildlife species (such as elephants, tiang, roan antelop and others) that come from Ethiopia during the rainy season. Dinder is a RAMSAR site as wetland of an international importance since 2005.

The Great Himalayan National Park Conservation Area could be compared to Dinder provides habitats for 4 globally threatened mammals, 3 globally threatened birds and a large number of medicinal plants. Dinder also provides habitats for globally threatened mammals, threatened birds classified as conservation dependent by IUCN ( as Vulnerable in the IUCN Red List), and cited on CITES Appendix II. With regard to lion and the elephant it is the only area in the region where such species still exist. It provides more protection and management of important imigrant endangered species visited Dinder during rainy season as lower habitats of Ethiopian platue such as the elephant.

The Great Himalayan National Park Conservation Area has a 26,560 ha buffer zone known as an Ecozone defined along the south-western side of the property. This buffer zone coincides with the areas of greatest human pressure and is managed in sympathy with the core values of the Great Himalayan National Park Conservation Area. For Dinder BR the buffer is part of the core area and the transitional zone could act as a buffer zone of the property as World Heritage site, that provide more protection to the site from related threats from human settlement which pose the greatest concern and include agriculture, localised poaching, traditional grazing. Simmilarly the Great Himalayan National Park Conservation Area face similar threats.

The Okavango Delta was inscribed World Heritage property encompasses an area of 2,023,590 ha with a buffer zone of 2,286,630 ha. This delta in north-west Botswana comprises permanent marshlands and seasonally flooded plains. It is a large low gradient alluvial fan or ‘Inland Delta’ located in north-western Botswana. The area includes permanent swamps which cover approximately 600,000 ha along with up to 1.2m ha of seasonally flooded grassland. Dinder too has more than 40 ox-bow lakes, swamps called locally mayas. They are formed by meanders and oxbows along the Dinder and Rahad rivers and principal streams as part of the drainage systems. But Okavango Delta is one of a very few large inland delta systems without an outlet to the sea, known as an endorheic delta, its waters drain instead into the desert sands of the Kalahari Basin.

The natural habitats of the nominated area are diverse and include permanent and seasonal rivers and lagoons, permanent swamps, seasonal and occasionally flooded grasslands, riparian forest, dry deciduous woodlands, and island communities. Dinder has 3 distinct ecosystems including different habitats with their distinct species composition comprising all the major classes of aquatic organisms, fish, reptiles, birds and mammals.

The Okavango Delta World Heritage property sustains robust populations of some of the world’s most endangered large mammals such as cheetah, white and black rhinoceros, wild dog and lion, all adapted to living in this wetland system. Similarly Dinder NP sustains populations of some of the globally threatened mammals (elephant, lions, tiang, etc.) and threatened birds such as Arabian bustard.

W National Park of Niger: The part of 'W' National Park that lies in Niger is situated in a transition zone between savannah and forest lands and represents important ecosystem characteristics of the West African Woodlands/Savannah Biogeographical Province. The site reflects the interaction between natural resources and humans since Neolithic times and illustrates the evolution of biodiversity in this zone. Dinder NP is located on poor rainfall woodland Savannah along the boundary of two major faunal realms i.e. the Palearctic and Ethiopian region. It lies along the transition ecotone between two floristic regions: the Ethiopian highland plateau and the arid Saharan Sudanian biomes. 'W' National Park of Niger is located in a transition zone between savanna and woodlands and represents a part of the important ecosystem characteristics of the West African woodlands/savanna bio-geographical region. The property reflects the interaction between natural resources and human beings since neolithic times and has produced characteristic landscapes and plant formations and represents the evolution of biodiversity in the Sudano-Sahelian biome.

'W' Park the same as Dinder NP, possesses important hydrological resources that favour the presence of an interesting bird population that continues to evolve. The landscapes of the park are very diversified, including aquatic ecosystems (large and small rivers, ponds) and land ecosystems where grassy areas, brush shrubbery and gallery forests alternate.