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As Liberia recovers from years of conflict, war-torn communities are slowly returning to their ancestral lands and Fauna & Flora International (FFI) is helping them to secure sustainable livelihoods.
This country is home to large sections of Upper Guinean Forest. This globally important lowland rainforest region is rich in endemic and rare species. Diana monkeys, chimpanzees and other endangered species rely on this forest for their survival. Sadly, it is at risk from extreme and immediate threats, such as slash-and-burn agricultural expansion, mining and poaching.
Liberia is central to FFI’s West Africa programme. We have played a significant role in Liberia since 1997. The risk of regression to war in post-conflict countries is high when the government and the international community are not able to make and sustain strong efforts at key moments.
The country’s forests are a hugely important asset to its people and need to be protected to ensure the long-term success of the country. Liberia is at a crucial stage in its development and it needs all the support it can get. FFI is committed to giving that vital assistance.
The western chimpanzee is the most threatened subspecies of chimpanzee; 75% have disappeared over the past 30 years. FFI is working in Guinea’s Nimba Biosphere Reserve and Liberia’s Sapo National Park to survey each chimpanzee population. Our support has led to local action plans to combat habitat loss, bush meat hunting and the increasing illegal trafficking of infant chimpanzees. We are also helping local communities develop cane rat, pig and fish farming as alternatives to hunting for bush meat, while developing a monitoring system to track the project’s impact on wildlife. Information will be shared with other conservation organisations working on Tiwai Island in Sierra Leone.
FFI played a crucial role in the re-establishment of the country’s only national park, Sapo National Park, by working closely with the Forestry Development Authority (FDA). We now continue to support the FDA in park operations and ongoing training of park staff, together with ecological research and biological monitoring of flagship species. New species of fauna and flora continue to be discovered in Sapo, demonstrating how vital it is to conserve this West African wildlife refuge.
Though the brutal civil war ended in 2003, the ongoing fight over Liberia’s rich natural resources is still fuelling social, economic and environmental problems. Fauna & Flora International (FFI) is helping the national government to introduce policies which integrate Community, Conservation and Commercial interests (known as the 3 C’s). Work on forest governance issues at the national level continues apace, including facilitating the drafting of new laws such as the Community Right Law and the Wildlife Law. Fauna & Flora International is also supporting the government in developing Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) pilot projects throughout Liberia.