Saving the Gola Forest: reimagining forest conservation in West Africa
Covering greater than 350,000 hectares, straddling the Liberia and also Sierra Leone boundaries, Gola Forest is the biggest staying block ofUpper Guinean Forest An vital biodiversity hotspot, the woodland is house to 49 creature types, 327 bird types and also 43 amphibian types, along with greater than 200 types of tree. More than 60 around the world endangered types consisting of the Western Red Colobus ape Piliocolobus badius (Endangered), Zebra Duiker Cephalophus zebra and also Rufous Fishing- owl Scotopella ussheri ( both Vulnerable) are located inGola Forest Furthermore, the woodland is house to the globe’s second biggest populace of the Western monkeys, along with working as a general carbon sink and also assisting to lower the effects of environment modification.
Years of logging and also destruction, driven by logging, farming, armed dispute and also mining, have actually brought about the loss of around the world vital biodiversity and also lowered durability to environment modification. This has actually considerably influenced regional neighborhoods, that rely on the woodland for their incomes. In 2011, the federal governments of Liberia and also Sierra Leone authorized a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on participation in the administration, research study, defense and also preservation of theGola Forest In February 2020, a modified MoU was authorized by both nations, declaring dedication to collectively handle the woodland and also shield its biodiversity.
In August 2020, the European Commission- moneyed Programme to Support the Conservation of Forest Ecosystems in West Africa (PAPFoR) was presented in Sierra Leone and also Liberia to preserve the Gola woodland. The three-year program is executed by BirdLife Partners the Society for the Conservation of Nature of Liberia ( SCNL) and also the Conservation Society of Sierra Leone, along with the Gola Rainforest Conservation Limited by Guarantee, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds ( RSPB – BirdLife in the UK), and also BirdLife International.
“The PAPFoR task is a driver that stands to increase the globe of preservation of nature and also biodiversity in 2 nations, as we understand pets have no boundaries,” states James Mulbha, the PAPFoR Project planner at SCNL.
Working with regional neighborhoods, nationwide companion companies and also federal government firms in Liberia and also Sierra Leone, PAPFoR will certainly sustain reliable woodland administration throughout the Gola Landscape, in safeguarded locations and also neighborhood woodlands. A crucial element of this program is the facility of land usage prepares to sustain preservation initiatives, consisting of the advancement of a trans-boundary data source and also stipulation of Geographic Information System (GIS) training. Further, the program will certainly perform a participatory landscape-wide land usage preparation procedure and also assistance regional neighborhoods to establish land usage strategies.
“This task is distinct as it is a forerunner for tranquility in between neighborhoods spread out throughout 2 nations. The Land Use Planning is not just a land administration device and also an assistance for decision-making, however much more notably, a problem administration device in between neighborhoods sharing the very same woodland sources,” notes Babacar Gueye, Africa Forest Coordinator at BirdLife International.
Secondly, the task will certainly sustain the administration of 5 secured locations within the landscape, via advancement of administration and also co-management strategies. These secured locations consist of Gola Rainforest National Park, Kambui Forest Reserve, Tiwai Wildlife Sanctuary, Gola Forest National Park, and alsoFoya Proposed Protected Area Training and also equipping people people to perform woodland administration and also preservation is a vital element of PAPFoR. To this end, the program will certainly educate neighborhood eco-guards and also sustain the Governments of Liberia and also Sierra Leone to perform joint patrols, along with established a landscape-wide bio-monitoring program.
“The participation of neighborhood participants as eco-guards establishes the basis for regional individuals’s engagement in the defense of the woodland. This treatment has actually produced revenue for neighborhood eco-guards, even more lowering the stress on the woodland as a lot of them were previous seekers, miners, loggers and also farmers,” includes Mulbha.
Another result of this program is sustaining lasting community-based administration of woodland sources outside the safeguarded locations while boosting neighborhood incomes. To attain this, the task will certainly sustain 2 community-based ecotourism endeavors and also pilot a lasting logging design inLiberia It is imagined that greater than 50,000 individuals in 160 neighborhoods will certainly gain from this program. Already the task has actually begun to place its strategy right into activity, consisting of connecting to regional neighborhoods in the task location, training eco-guards, and also presenting team to land usage preparation.
“This can be an extremely reliable strategy in the administration of this crucial source in Africa”, wraps up Gueye.