Note on Foret du Day

Forêt du DayThe Forêt du Day ecosystem is dry tropical Afromontane mixed woodland occupies an area of c. 15 esq. km (White, 1983) in the Goda Massif mountain ranges in the North of Djibouti (11° 46’ N, 42° 39’ E) with an altitudinal range between c. 1200 m to c. 1750 m and is an Important Bird Area (BirdLife International, 2000) and proposed protected area lies. It consists also one of the few forested areas still remaining in the country where, historically, the dominant forest tree was African pencil cedar Juniperus procera, which formed a closed canopy forest until a dramatic decline in the last 20-30 years which left a large proportion of the junipers dead or dying, and the canopy open and the nearby Mabla Mountains. Available habitat at Forêt du Day halved between 1977 and 1983 and by 2006, 95% of the remaining plateau juniper was either dead or dying (Bealey et al. 2006).

In terms of ecosystem of global and national significance, the Forêt Du Day is the most important key site as home of a variety of rare, extremely arid-adapted species of fauna such as Critically Endangered species i.e. Djibouti Francolin, Leopard, small breeding population of the Endangered Egyptian Vulture, isolated small populations of green monkey and klipspringer etc… and flora such as respectively Endangered and Vulnerable Dracaena ombet and Livistona carinensis etc… were survived for many centuries as biological diversity and genetic reservoir and important natural resources to feed and contribute the community livelihood in a highly desert landscape in areas of the Djiboutian dry highlands.

The reasons for the poor condition of the juniper woodlands of Forêt du Day is unclear, but overgrazing by cattle, camels and goats, is certainly a major factor, possibly exacerbated by acid rains, climate changes and fungal diseases with no scientifically study evidences. Other threats include firewood collection, hunting and human disturbance. Although the species’ ecology and biology are also poorly known and its persisting behaviour to occur in dead and extremely degraded juniper woodland remains unclear for its long-term survival.