Mauritania, one of the world’s 30 biggest countries, is primarily desert or semi-arid, with a considerable stretch of Atlantic coastline.
Mauritania is a West African republic with borders with four other African nations: Western Sahara, Algeria, Senegal, and Mali. The nation covers a total of 397 685 square miles and is regarded as part of both the Sahel region of West Africa and the Maghreb region of North Africa.
Mauritania’s Ecological Regions
Coastal Desert of the Atlantic
The Atlantic coastal desert ecoregion is located along the Mauritian Atlantic Coast and is part of the desert and xeric shrublands Biome. The region’s topography is characterized by cliffs ranging in height from 20 to 50 meters and sandy plateaus in the interior area.
The ecoregion’s climate is hot and dry, with little and infrequent rain. Although years may pass without rain, annual precipitation is measured at 40 mm.
Wind currents carry mists offshore, where they condense and aid the growth of lichens and vegetation—numerous migratory shorebirds and the endangered Mediterranean monk seal call this ecoregion home.
The ecoregion contains just one unique animal, the Algerian snake, despite its abundance of rare flora. Among the region’s terrestrial species are hyenas, sand foxes, ratels, golden jackals, and Dorcas gazelles.
Due to overgrazing and prolonged drought, this ecoregion has been continuously damaged. To protect the region’s integrity, the Réserve Intégrale de Cap Blanc and the Banc d’Arguin National Park were formed.
Acacia Savanna of the Sahel
The tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas, and shrublands Biome include the Sahelian Acacia savanna ecoregion.
This ecoregion runs the length of Mauritania’s Atlantic coast. The terrain is flat, and the environment is hot and humid. From May to September, annual rainfall ranges from 200mm in the north to 600mm in the south.
Vast swaths of grassland are interlaced with acacia tree species throughout the vegetation. The lion, Dorcas gazelle, scimitar-horned oryx, dama gazelle, red-fronted gazelle, and cheetah are among the region’s vulnerable or extinct animals.
Poaching threatens the area’s animals, while overgrazing, fires, wood gathering, and growing desertification threaten the ecoregion’s integrity. This ecoregion includes Mauritania’s Diawling National Park.
Steppes and Woodlands of the North Sahara
The desert and xeric shrublands Biome includes the northern Saharan steppe and woods. This ecoregion spans North Africa, encompassing both coastal inland and beaches in specific locations.
The climate in the area is hot and dry, with annual rainfall ranging from 100 to 250 mm. Mountains, wadis (wide river beds), regs (rocky plateaus), fesh-fesh (soil plateaus), and sandy systems all exist in the ecoregion, as do mountain summits.
The forest terrain is dominated by acacia tree species, some of which are indigenous to the area. The horned viper and desert varan are reptile species, whereas gazelle, Sahara gundi, gerbil, and the four-toed jerboa are mammal species.
Poaching, overgrazing, and water pollution in the region’s wetlands threaten this ecoregion. In this ecoregion, Mauritania’s Iriki permanent hunting reserve is the only protected area.
The Dry Sahel is one of Mauritania’s freshwater ecoregions. This ecoregion is home to various freshwater ecosystems, including oases, streams, and seasonal and permanent pools.
This ecoregion occupies the transition zone between the Savanna ecoregion and the Sahara Desert. The climate in the region is hot and tropical, with an annual rainfall of 30-50 mm.
The avifauna in this ecoregion is incredibly diverse, ranging from crabs and mollusks to fish and amphibians.
Migratory birds such as the white pelican and red knot use the area as a rest stop. Agricultural development and overgrazing, which have resulted in desertification, are among the region’s environmental problems.
Mauritania’s Other Ecoregions
The Atlantic Ocean and the Saharan Upwelling are Mauritania’s two marine ecoregions. Poor fishing practices and pollution pose a danger to marine environments, which the government strives to address.
Mauritania’s two freshwater ecoregions include the Temporary Maghreb and the Senegal-Gambian Catchment Basins.
The West Sudanian savanna is classed as tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas, and shrublands ecoregion, whereas Saharan halophytes belong to the flooded grasslands and savannas Biome.
The Saharan desert, South Saharan steppe and woods, and West Saharan montane xeric woodlands ecoregions are all classified as deserts and xeric shrublands biotopes.
Ecological Regions Of Mauritania
|Ecological Regions Of Mauritania||Biome|
|Atlantic coastal desert||Deserts and Xeric Shrublands|
|The dry Sahel||Freshwater|
|North Saharan steppe and woodlands||Deserts and Xeric Shrublands|
|Sahara desert||Deserts and Xeric Shrublands|
|Saharan halophytics||Flooded Grasslands and Savannas|
|Sahelian Acacia savanna||Tropical and Subtropical Grasslands, Savannas, and Shrublands|
|Senegal-Gambia Catchment Basins||Freshwater|
|South Saharan steppe and woodlands||Deserts and Xeric Shrublands|
|The temporary Maghreb||Freshwater|
|West Saharan montane xeric woodlands||Deserts and Xeric Shrublands|
|West Sudanian savanna||Tropical and Subtropical Grasslands, Savannas, and Shrublands|