Location The Horn of Northeastern Africa
National websites The ACG Somalia Page, UPENN Somalia Page
Embassy / Chancery in U.S.  ceased diplomatic relations with US May 8, 1991
Agencies responsible for biological inventory and conservation Due to a lack of centralized government, Somalia has no official office in charge of the environment
Non-governmental organizations concerned with conservation Somali Environmental Protection and Anti-Desertification Organization
P.O.BOX 27750, Abu Dhabi 
United Arab Emirates (UAE)
 Tel: +971 -2 - 787 442 
 Fax: +971- 187-02215 243 
Major Natural Resources  Somalia is a land of few natural resources, although it is believed it may contain significant natural mineral resources.  Currently only 15% of the land is considered arable, and grasslands for livestock are disappearing as desertification becomes a greater problem each year. Despite harsh conditions, flora indigenous to northern Somalia includes the trees that produce the resins frankincense and myrrh. In the south trees include eucalyptus, mahogany, and euphoria trees.  Big game wildlife is also currently abundant in Somalia and includes elephants, crocodiles, giraffes, leopards, lions and zebras, though their numbers are being threatened as poaching increases. 

Sources for this paragraph: Arabnet, SEPADO, and CIA FACTBOOK

Major Environmental and Conservation Issues    Due to war and a lack of centralized government, Somalia faces many problems protecting it's environmental resources. Among Somalia's problems are: poaching, the burning of trees for charcoal to export, foreign fishing in Somalian waters, and the dumping of nuclear waste on Somali land by foreign nations.  As the Somali  population is largely a nomadic, trees are often cut to make temporary shelters.  This along with the desire to make charcoal in exchange for hard currency, has led many people to add to Somalia's desertification process.  Without a central government to guard Somalia's resources, foreign agents have begun to deplete them.  Swiss and Italian firms were accused last year of entering to agreements with the Somali government, allowing the dumping of nuclear waste even though it violated international treaties.

Sources for this paragraph: SEPADO, Trade and Environment Database, and CIA FACTBOOK

Statistics Information Sources
Land area 627,340 Sq. km The World Bank, Agriculture Resources Dept.
Area of forest  758 Ha.  The World Bank, Agricultural Resources Dept.
Area of wetlands Due to the arid climate of Somalia, there are very few areas that would even be considered wetlands The World Bank, Agricultural Resources Dept.
Area of territorial waters 10,320 Sq. km The World Bank, Agricultural Resources Dept.
Population: 10.7 million   Density:   44/Sq.mi

Area protected (ha) (only areas >1000 ha) at all IUCN levels: 180 Fraction of land area protected (%): 0.3 The World Bank, Agricultural Resources Dept.
Major Protected Areas Due to larger administrative issues, Somalia has only a rudimentary system of protected areas, consisting mostly of game reserves and one area (Luc Badana) nominally a national park but failing to meet UN criteria for such parks.  Britannica Online
Somali Species Endemic to North African Region
Mammals 171
Birds 649
Reptiles 193
Amphibians 27
Fish X
Plants 3,000
The World Bank, Agricultural Resources Dept.
Endangered, Threatened and Vulnerable Species
Mammals 18
Birds 8
Reptiles 2
Amphibians 3
Fish 0
Invertebrates 1
Plants 103


World Conservation Monitoring Centre - Animal 

World Conservation Monitoring Centre - Plants

Extinct Species
Mammals unsure at this time due to war 

losses believed to be greater than reported, 0

Birds unsure at this time due to war 

losses believed to be greater than reported, 0

Reptiles unsure at this time due to war 

losses believed to be greater than reported, 5

Amphibians unsure at this time due to war 

losses believed to be greater than reported, 19

Fish 0
Invertebrates 0
Plants 7



World Conservation Monitoring Centre - Animal 

World Conservation Monitoring Centre - Plants

Species listed on CITES Appendices

CITES-listed Species Database
Laws protecting endangered or threatened species only CITES which prevents trade in wildlife products
Laws protecting endangered ecosystems None, but SEPADO would like to raise the Somali envirnonmentalconsciousness and protect many of the grasslands Somalis depend on for livestock grazing. Unmaintained roads encourage heavy offroad driving, which destroys the grassland and promotes desertification.
Signatory to CITES December 2, 1985
Signatory to Ramsar Wetlands Convention No
Signatory to Convention on Biological Diversity  1991
Signatory to Migratory Bird Treaty No
Member of International Whaling Commission No
Signatory to other international treaties designed to protect or manage biological resources Biodiversity Action Plan 1991
Natural Resource Use Information Sources
Fisheries National Marine Catch: 14,600 tons World Bank
Forestry / deforestation 7,713,000 cu. meters of wood was exported in the form of charcoal in 1993 alone. World Bank
Ecotourism In war-torn Somalia, the United States Advises against tourism. CIA Factbook
Trade in wildlife products The World Bank reports that Somalia has an 80% compliance rate with CITES, but recent poaching suggests otherwise. World Bank


Hunting Considering the increasing Somali dependency on foreign aid for food, the incidents of poaching may not be merely for wildlife products. SEPADO
Other uses of natural resources 59% of the GDP of Somalia's economy goes into agriculture, that is farming the 15% of Somalia's land that is considered arable or raising livestock on Somalia's grasslands.. CIA Factbook
Human Impacts on Natural Resources Information Sources
Air pollution The burning of Somali trees to mass-produce charcoal releases a lot of CO2 and smoke into the air. SEPADO
Water pollution Contaminated water leads to all kinds of health problems for Somalis The World Bank, Agricultural Resources Dept.
Development activities Actually, it is the lack of development on the part of the government or organizations within Somalia that is leading to water contamination and desertification. The lack of roads leading to agressive offroad driving is just the beginning. Forced to dig their own wells in the search for water, many nomads are destroying the few non-arid areas of Somalia. SEPADO
Introduced species N/A N/A
Legislation addressing these issues None Currently. SEPADO
Restoration and Reintroduction Information Sources
Programs for restoration of damaged habitat  SEPADO--Somali Environmental Protection and Anti-Desertification Program SEPADO 
Programs for ex situ conservation (captive breeding and reintroduction) of endangered species None on the national level, but SEPADO would like to begin a campaign to raise awareness in Somali minds about wildlife in general, having successfully stopped the damaging charcoal trade in Eastern Somalia through combined efforts. SEPADO

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Page compiled by (Stacy E. Korn) as part of a class project in h90 "The Science of Biodiversity and Conservation" (Peter J. Bryant, Instructor), University of California, Irvine, Irvine, CA 92697, USA