Protecting threatened Over-seas biodiversity

French Guyana: focus on these Wetlands of International Importance!

In February, wetlands are highlighted in order to raise awareness among the general public of their importance for humans and biodiversity. On February 2, 1971, 171 countries around the world signed the RAMSAR convention, also known as the “Convention on Wetlands of International Importance” whose objective is to ensure the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands, by committing countries to stop their degradation or disappearance. In France, 50 sites have been labeled RAMSAR, and thus recognized as a wetland of international importance. In this month of February, let’s go and explore the 3 RAMSAR sites in French Guyana.

Island of the Grand-Connetable © Florent BIGNON

Kaw Marshes and Grand-Connétable Island

Located in the east of French Guyana, these sites cover an area of ​​137,000 hectares, 105,800 of which are partly land. Managed by the Guyana Regional Nature Park, the Kaw marshes are home to several ecosystems such as mangroves, swamp forests and floating meadows. Two rivers cross them: the Kaw river and Angélique cove.

These marshes have a rich biodiversity: toucans, herons, flamingos as well as one of the last populations of black caimans on the continent. To the north, the area includes the islands of Petit and Grand-Connétable, with an area of ​​2.5 hectares.

Managed by the Group for the Study and Protection of Birds in Guyana, the Île du Grand-Connétable Nature Reserve covers 95,000 ha of the site. This Island is the only major breeding site for seabirds on the North Amazonian coast. The presence of rocky habitat, very rare on this coast, constitutes an important refuge for certain marine species such as green turtles and Atlantic Goliath groupers.

Kaw marshes © Florent BIGNON

Basse mana

Covering an area of ​​59,000 hectares and located in the northeast of French Guyana, this site is made up of mudflats, mangroves, swamp forests, shorelines and fresh and brackish water swamps. Classified as a wetland of international importance since 1993, the site is managed by the Guyana Regional Nature Park. The beaches of the site are known worldwide for mainly nesting the Leatherback Sea Turtle. The fauna of this ecosystem is rich and diversified: jaguars, ocelots, howler monkeys, manatees … The mangroves are home to dormitories of red ibis, egrets and herons while the ever-changing mudflats are strategic sites for many birds migrants from North America. Despite its wealth, the site faces many threats: pesticides, stray dogs, hunting and poaching.

Basse mana © Marie Windstein

Sinnamary River Estuary

Covering an area of ​​24,000 hectares and located north of Kourou, this site is a collection of mud, sand, mangroves and freshwater swamps. Classified as a wetland of international importance in 2008, it is managed by the Conservatoire du Littoral in Guyana. A favorite site for the Caribbean Lament, the site is home to many migratory birds and also serves as a feeding and breeding site for the Green Turtle and some caiman species.

Sinnamary Estuary © GEPOG