Credit: Amina Daoud Bouaatour, 2019
Tunisia has added Garâa Sejenane to the List of Wetlands of International Importance. This “Ramsar Site” (no. 2447 on the List) is found at 110 metres above sea level in the Mogod mountains in the north-west of Tunisia. At 1,500 hectares, it is the largest natural freshwater wetland in the country.
This once-permanent lake was drained in the late 1950s, leaving a depression five kilometres long and three wide with a mosaic of seasonal wetlands, pastureland, tobacco fields and market gardens. The drainage led to the extinction of globally and regionally important plant species but, despite the extent of human intervention, the Site retains exceptional conservation value with its great wealth of hydrophytes and other notable plants.
There are several globally and regionally threatened species, such as the only population in the world of Rumex tunetanus, the world’s largest population of the fern Pilularia minuta, which is endemic to the Mediterranean region, and the largest population in North Africa of Elatine macropoda. In addition, the Site is home to Pleurodeles nebulosus, a vulnerable amphibian which is endemic to Algeria and Tunisia.
Garâa Sejenane is privately owned and collectively managed by the Groupement de Développement Agricole (GDA) representing the landowners, the municipality and the Delegation of Sejenane.