Koukoutamba waterfalls

Cascades de Koukoutamba

GUITIPA010
Koukoutamba waterfalls

Country: Guinea

Administrative region: Tougué (Prefecture)

Central co-ordinates: 13.26972 N, 11.37972 W

Area: 27.5km²

Qualifying IPA Criteria

A(i)Site contains one or more globally threatened species, B(i)Site contains a high number of species within defined habitat or vegetation types, C(iii)Site contains nationally threatened or restricted habitat or vegetation types, AND/OR habitats that have severely declined in extent nationally

IPA assessment rationale

The rapids and waterfalls at Koukoutamba are the most species-rich known for Podostemaceae in Guinea with five species. It is the only known location in Guinea for the Critically Endangered (CR) Podostemaceae species Lebbiea grandiflora and the only global location for the spectacular new species Inversodicraea koukoutamba ined. These species are directly and imminently and imminently threatened with extinction from the planned hydroelectric dam. In addition the globally Endangered (EN) Stonesia taylorii and the Critically Endangered (CR) Barleria asterotricha are also present and threatened by the project.

Site description

The Koukoutamba Falls are on the Bafing River upriver from the main road N27 in Tougué Prefecture. It is a fast flowing area of rapids and waterfalls for around 12km below the main falls, the river is flanked by a thin strip of gallery forest dominated by Syzygium guineense var. guineense.

Botanical significance

The succession of fast flowing rapids and waterfalls at Koukoutamba on this stretch of the Bafing River is particularly rich in rheophyte species. It is the only known location in Guinea for the Critically Endangered Podostemaceae species Lebbiea grandiflora (newly described in 2018) and two other highly threatened species of Podostemaceae.

Habitat and geology

The Bafing River flows through a valley of sandstone, argillite interlayered with limestone and silica over conglomerate base rock. The unequal erosion is likely to be the cause of the rapids and waterfalls on the river. Narrow strips of gallery forest dominated by Syzygium guineense var. guineense are found either side of the river with bowal areas behind and seasonal gullies draining into the river.

Conservation issues

The Koukoutamba falls are threatened by the creation of a hydroelectric dam. Despite the falls being encompassed within the Moyen Bafing National Park, if construction is allowed upstream (outside of the park area) it will significantly alter the hydrology of the river and very likely cause silt deposits exterminating the threatened and in one case globally unique Podostemaceae species.

Site assessor(s)

Charlotte Couch, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew

Martin Cheek, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew

IPA criterion A qualifying species

Species Qualifying sub-criterion ≥ 1% of global population ≥ 5% of national population 1 of 5 best sites nationally Entire global population Socio-economically important Abundance at site
Lebbiea grandiflora Cheek A(i) True True True False False Frequent
Inversodicraea harrisii (C.Cusset) Cheek A(i) True True True False False Frequent
Stonesia taylorii C.Cusset A(i) True True True False False Frequent
Inversodicraea koukoutamba Cheek A(i) True True True True False Abundant
Barleria asterotricha Benoist A(i) True True True False False Scarce

Lebbiea grandiflora Cheek

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
True
≥ 5% of national population:
True
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
True
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:
Frequent

Inversodicraea harrisii (C.Cusset) Cheek

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
True
≥ 5% of national population:
True
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
True
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:
Frequent

Stonesia taylorii C.Cusset

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
True
≥ 5% of national population:
True
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
True
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:
Frequent

Inversodicraea koukoutamba Cheek

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
True
≥ 5% of national population:
True
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
True
Entire global population:
True
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:
Abundant

Barleria asterotricha Benoist

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
True
≥ 5% of national population:
True
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
True
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:
Scarce

IPA criterion C qualifying habitats

Habitat Qualifying sub-criterion ≥ 5% of national resource ≥ 10% of national resource 1 of 5 best sites nationally Areal coverage at site
Waterfalls and Rapids C(iii) False True True 12

Waterfalls and Rapids

Qualifying sub-criterion:
C(iii)
≥ 5% of national resource:
False
≥ 10% of national resource:
True
Areal coverage at site:
12

General site habitats

General site habitat Percent coverage Importance
Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Rivers, Streams, Creeks [includes waterfalls] No value Major
Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland Forest No value Unknown

Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Rivers, Streams, Creeks [includes waterfalls]

Percent coverage:
No value
Importance:
Major

Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland Forest

Percent coverage:
No value
Importance:
Unknown

Threats

Threat Severity Timing
Climate change & severe weather - Droughts Unknown Future - inferred threat
Energy production & mining - Renewable energy High Future - planned activity

Climate change & severe weather - Droughts

Severity:
Unknown
Timing:
Future - inferred threat

Energy production & mining - Renewable energy

Severity:
High
Timing:
Future - planned activity

Management type

Management type Description Year started Year finished
No management plan in place No value No value

No management plan in place

Year started:
No value
Year finished:
No value

Bibliography

Lisowski, S., 2009

Flore (Angiospermes) de la République de Guinée.

Couch, C; Magassouba, S; Rokni, S; Cheek, M., 2018

Threatened plants species of Guinea-Conakry: A preliminary checklist

Peerj Preprints

IUCN, 2019

IUCN Red List

Available online

Cheek, M., Lebbie, A., 2018

Lebbiea (Podostemaceae-Podostemoideae), a new, nearly extinct genus with foliose tepals, in Sierra Leone.

PLoS ONE, Vol 13(10) Available online

Direction Nationale de l’Énergie,

PROJET D’AMÉNAGEMENT HYDROÉLECTRIQUE DE KOUKOUTAMBA

Available online

Recommended citation

Charlotte Couch, Martin Cheek (2021) Tropical Important Plant Areas Explorer: Koukoutamba waterfalls (Guinea). https://tipas.kew.org/site/koukoutamba-waterfalls/ (Accessed on 04/03/2021)