Saving the Gola Biodiversity in Liberia - Africa Green Magazine

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Saving the Gola Biodiversity in Liberia

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Saving the Gola Biodiversity in Liberia



AGM-Liberia       The forest landscape, also called the Gola Peace Transboundary Park, includes the Gola Rainforest National Park in Sierra Leone and the Gola Rainforest National Park in Liberia. Together, the forests extend over more than 350,000 hectares and represent one of the largest remaining blocks of the Upper Guinea Forest. Considered a hotspot for biodiversity, these common forests are home to more than 899 vascular plants, 49 mammals, 327 species of birds and 43 amphibians. Unfortunately, many of these species of fauna and plants are threatened or critically endangered, including the forest elephant, chimpanzee verus, bay colobus, dwarf hippo and rosewood.

 

According to Birdlife, 90 % of the Upper Guinea Forest and many of the ecosystem services and functions it provides, such as watersheds that provide sustainable water supplies, have already disappeared as a result of human activities such as mining, logging, agriculture and conversion of forest into oil palm and other plantations, at various scales. These factors are fostered by weak or ineffective governance and law enforcement, inadequate support for conservation and management, as well as a general lack of awareness of the global values ​​of these regions.


Liberia’s forests contribute to the wellbeing of the national population by providing a wide range of services, including bushmeat and fuel wood. These forest communities are very remote, hence highly dependent on natural resources. The main sources of subsistence is agriculture, with no or very restricted access to education, health or to international aid.


In August 2020, the European Commission-funded Programme to Support the Conservation of Forest Ecosystems in West Africa (PAPFoR) was rolled out in Sierra Leone and Liberia to conserve the Gola forest.


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“The PAPFoR project is a catalyst that stands to boost the world of conservation of nature and biodiversity in two countries, as we are aware animals have no borders,” states James Mulbha, the PAPFoR Project coordinator at SCNL.


PAPFoR will support effective forest management across the Gola Landscape, in protected areas and community forests. A key aspect of this programme is the establishment of land use plans to support conservation efforts, including the development of a trans-boundary database and provision of Geographic Information System (GIS) training.


“This project is unique as it is a precursor for peace between communities spread across two countries. The Land Use Planning is not only a land management tool and a support for decision-making, but more importantly, a conflict management tool between communities sharing the same forest resources,” explains Babacar Gueye, Africa Forest Coordinator at BirdLife International.


Penda DJIGO/AGM

 

 

 

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