STATISTICS: Mauritania


0.3% —or about 267,000 hectares—of Mauritania is forested.

Change in Forest Cover: Between 1990 and 2000, Mauritania lost an average of 9,800 hectares of forest per year. The amounts to an average annual deforestation rate of 2.36%. Between 2000 and 2005, the rate of forest change increased by 33.6% to 3.15% per annum. In total, between 1990 and 2005, Mauritania lost 35.7% of its forest cover, or around 148,000 hectares. Measuring the total rate of habitat conversion (defined as change in forest area plus change in woodland area minus net plantation expansion) for the 1990-2005 interval, Mauritania lost 4.2% of its forest and woodland habitat.

Biodiversity and Protected Areas: Mauritania has some 692 known species of amphibians, birds, mammals and reptiles according to figures from the World Conservation Monitoring Centre. Of these, 0.7% are endemic, meaning they exist in no other country, and 2.0% are threatened. Mauritania is home to at least 1100 species of vascular plants. 0.0% of Mauritania is protected under IUCN categories I-V.

Mauritania Environmental profile


Mauritania: Forest Cover, 2005
Total Land Area (ha)102,522,000
Total Forest Area (ha)267,000
Percent Forest Cover0.26%
Primary Forest Cover (ha)-
Primary Forest, % total forest-
Primary Forest, % total land-
Other wooded land (ha)3,110,000

Mauritania : Forest types
Tropical (% forest area)100%
Subtropical (% forest area)0%
Temperate (% forest area)0%
Boreal/polar (% forest area)0%

Mauritania: Breakdown of forest types, 2005
Primary forest (ha | %)--
Modified natural (ha | %)--
Semi-natural (ha | %)--
Production plantation (ha | %)--
Production plantation (ha | %)--

Mauritania: Change in Forest Cover
Forest 1990 (ha)415,000
Forest 2000 (ha)317,000
Forest 2005 (ha)267,000
Annual Change 1990-2000 (ha | %)(9,800)-2.36%
Annual Change 2000-2005 (ha | %)(10,000)-3.15%
Total Change 1990-2005 (ha | %)(148,000)-35.66%
Change in rate (%)33.59%
Primary 1990 (ha)-
Primary 2000 (ha)-
Primary 2005 (ha)-
Annual Change 1990-2000 (ha | %)--
Annual Change 2000-2005 (ha | %)--
Total Change 1990-2005 (ha | %)--
Change in rate (%)-
Other 1990 (ha)3,110,000
Other 2000 (ha)3,110,000
Other 2005 (ha)3,110,000
Annual Change 1990-2000 (ha | %)-0.00%
Annual Change 2000-2005 (ha | %)-0.00%
Total Change 1990-2005 (ha | %)-0.00%
Change in rate (%)#DIV/0!
Other 1990 (ha)-
Other 2000 (ha)10,000
Other 2005 (ha)-
Annual Change 1990-2000 (ha | %)--
Annual Change 2000-2005 (ha | %)--
Total Change 1990-2005 (ha | %)--
Change in rate (%)-
Forest area+Wooded Area-Plantations
Other 1990 (ha)3,525,000
Other 2000 (ha)3,417,000
Other 2005 (ha)3,377,000
Annual Change 1990-2000 (ha | %)(10,800)-0.31%
Annual Change 2000-2005 (ha | %)(8,000)-0.23%
Total Change 1990-2005 (ha | %)(148,000)-4.20%
Change in rate (%)-23.58%

Mauritania: Primary
Primary or "old-growth" vegetation
Primary Forest 2005 (ha)-
Other primary wooded land 2005 (ha)-
Other primary wooded land 2005 (ha)0
Undisturbed vegetation 2005 (% land area)0.00%

Mauritania: Forest designation
Ownership of forest land, 2000
Public (%)97.5%
Private (%)2.5%
Other (%)0.0%
Ownership of other wooded land, 2000
Public (%)-
Private (%)-
Other (%)-
Designated functions of forest – primary function 2005
Production (%)-
Protection (%)-
Conservation (%)-
Social Services (%)-
Multiple Services (%)-
None of Unknown (%)100.0%

Mauritania: Disturbances affecting forest land 2000
Forest Area annually affected by
Fire (%)-
Insects (ha)-
Diseases (ha)-
Other (ha)-

Mauritania: Protected areas
Protected areas
Biosphere reserves, 2005
Wetlands of international importance (Ramsar sites), 20053
World Heritage sites, 20042
Protected Areas: IUCN categories I-V, percent of total land0.0%
Protected Areas: IUCN categories Ia, Ib, and II, extent, percent of total land0.00%
Protected Areas: IUCN categories III, IV, and V, percent of total land, 20040.24%
Protected Areas: IUCN categories VI and other, percent of total land, 20040.00%

Mauritania: Biodiversity - Wildlife
total species3
endemic species0
threatened species0
total species521
endemic species0
threatened species5
total species94
endemic species1
threatened species7
total species74
endemic species4
threatened species2
Wildlife diversity
total species692
endemic species5
threatened species14

Mauritania: Biodiversity - Plants
Growing stock composition
3 most common species
% of total growing stock
Growing stock composition
3 most common species
% of total growing stock
Number of Native tree species
Native tree species52
Number of tree species in IUCN red list
Critically Endangered0
Vascular Plant Species, 2004
Number endemic0
Number of Threatened Plant Species, 2004
Species threatened0

Mauritania: Value of forests
Biomass stock in forest, 2005
Above-ground biomass (M t)10
Below-ground biomass (M t)3
Dead wood (M t)-
Total (M t)-
Carbon stock in forest, 2005
Carbon in above-ground biomass (M t)5
Carbon in below-ground biomass (M t)2
Carbon in dead wood (M t)-
Carbon in litter (M t)-
Soil carbon (M t)-
Change in growing stock 1990 - 2005
Annual change rate (1000 cubic m/yr)
Growing stock per hectare 1990 - 2005
Annual change rate ( cubic m/ha per yr)
Wood removal 2005
Industrial roundwood (1000 cubic m)-
Wood fuel (1000 cubic m)-
Total wood removal 2005 (1000 cubic m)-
Total wood removal 2005 (% of growing stock)-
Plant products 2005
Food (t)-
Fodder (t)-
Raw material for medicine and aromatic products (t)-
Raw material for colorants and dyes (t)-
Raw material for utensils, handicrafts & construction (t)-
Ornamental plants (t)-
Exudates (t)-
Other plant products (t)-
Animal products 2005
Living animals (units)-
Hides, skins and trophies (units)-
Wild honey and bee-wax (t)-
Bush meat (t)-
Raw material for medicine and aromatic products (t)-
Raw material for colorants and dyes (t)-
Other edible animal products (t)-
Other non-edible animal products (t)-
Value of wood and non-wood forest product removal 2005
Industrial roundwood (US$)-
Wood fuel (US$)-
Non-wood forest products (US$)-
Total value (US$)-
Total value ($USD/ha)$-
Employment in forestry 2000
Total people employed-

Mauritania : Production, trade and consumption of forest products, 2002
Woodfuel ('000 cubic m), 2002
Industrial roundwood ('000 cubic m), 2002
Sawnwood ('000 cubic m), 2002
Wood-based panels ('000 cubic m), 2002
Pulp for paper ('000 metric tons), 2002
Paper and paperboard ('000 metric tons), 2002
Mauritania: Environment
Environment - current issuesovergrazing, deforestation, and soil erosion aggravated by drought are contributing to desertification; very limited natural fresh water resources away from the Senegal, which is the only perennial river; locust infestation
Environment - international agreementsparty to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Natural hazardshot, dry, dust/sand-laden sirocco wind blows primarily in March and April; periodic droughts

Mauritania: Land use / Resources
Land use (%)arable land: 0.48%
permanent crops: 0.01%
other: 99.51% (2001)
Natural resourcesiron ore, gypsum, copper, phosphate, diamonds, gold, oil, fish

Mauritania: Economy
Economy - overview:Half the population still depends on agriculture and livestock for a livelihood, even though many of the nomads and subsistence farmers were forced into the cities by recurrent droughts in the 1970s and 1980s. Mauritania has extensive deposits of iron ore, which account for nearly 40% of total exports. The decline in world demand for this ore, however, has led to cutbacks in production. The nation's coastal waters are among the richest fishing areas in the world, but overexploitation by foreigners threatens this key source of revenue. The country's first deepwater port opened near Nouakchott in 1986. In the past, drought and economic mismanagement resulted in a buildup of foreign debt which now stands at more than three times the level of annual exports. In February 2000, Mauritania qualified for debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative and in December 2001 received strong support from donor and lending countries at a triennial Consultative Group review. A new investment code approved in December 2001 improved the opportunities for direct foreign investment. Ongoing negotiations with the IMF involve problems of economic reforms and fiscal discipline. In 2001, exploratory oil wells in tracts 80 km offshore indicated potential extraction at current world oil prices. Mauritania has an estimated 1 billion barrels of proved reserves. Substantial oil production and exports are scheduled to begin in early 2006 and may average 75,000 barrels per day for that year. Meantime the government emphasizes reduction of poverty, improvement of health and education, and promoting privatization of the economy.
GDP - per capita$2,000 (2005 est.)
GDP - real growth rate (%)5.5% (2005 est.)
Agriculture - productsdates, millet, sorghum, rice, corn, dates; cattle, sheep
GDP - composition by sector (%)agriculture: 25%, industry: 29%, services: 46% (2001 est.)
Industries fish processing, mining of iron ore and gypsum
Economic aid - recipient$305.7 million (2002)
Debt - external$2.5 billion (2000)
Population below poverty line (%)40% (2004 est.)
Labor force - by occupation (%)agriculture 50%, industry 10%, services 40% (2001 est.)

Mauritania: Population / Demographics
Population (July 2005)3,086,859
Population growth rate (%) (2005)2.90%
Population density (people/sq km) (2005)3.0
Percent rural (2003)38.2%
Median age (years)total: 16.98 years
Total fertility rate (children born/woman)5.94 (2005 est.)
Ethnic groups (%)mixed Maur/black 40%, Moor 30%, black 30%

Largest Cities in Mauritania

Cities and urban areas in Mauritania with population over 100,000 All figures are estimates for 2002.

CityCountryCity PopulationUrban Area Population

 Environment, Land use / Resources, Economy, Population / Demographics, Infrastructure, Health -- CIA World Factbook, 2005
 Forest Cover, Forest types, Breakdown of forest types, Change in Forest Cover, Primary forests, Forest designation, Disturbances affecting forest land, Value of forests, Production, trade and consumption of forest products -- The FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS's Global Forest Resources Assessment (2005) and the State of the World’s Forests (2005, 2003, 2001)
 Protected Areas, Plant and animal biodiversity -- United Nations Environment Programme - World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC). 2004. World Database on Protected Areas.
 Biosphere reservers -- United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) - Man and Biosphere Program. 2004. UNESCO - MAB Biosphere Reserves Directory.
 RAMSAR sites -- The Bureau of the Convention on Wetlands . 2005. The Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance.
 World Resources Institute's EarthTrends web site
 The 2004 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
 Population Data -- United Nations Population Fund
 With additional analysis by Rhett Butler of

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