West Africa’s ‘water tower’

Located in West Africa, Guinea is officially known as the Republic of Guinea (not to be confused with Equatorial Guinea or Guinea-Bissau). The country is recognised as a global biodiversity hotspot, and Guinea’s 12 million people share their home with an impressive array of wildlife and plant species.

Twenty-two West African rivers originate here, including the Niger – Africa’s third longest – and the Gambia and Senegal Rivers. Protecting the forests that act as watersheds for these rivers is therefore crucial not only for biodiversity, but for the health and well-being of millions of people.

The south of Guinea also contains important remnants of the Upper Guinean Forest that once covered the whole of West Africa. The biodiversity under the lush forest canopy is stunning – elephants, chimpanzees and many more endangered species all rely on this unique habitat.

But Guinea’s wildlife is under threat from mining, bush meat hunting, illegal wildlife trade and massive deforestation. With a rapidly rising population and capacity challenges, these pressures will only increase. Guinea is ranked 183 out of 188 on the Human Development Index, so conservation solutions need to be found that enable people to make a living while protecting their natural assets into the future.

Guinea facts
Africa Country in Africa

Size (land & water):

245,857 km²

Population (2016 est.):


GDP per capita (2016 est.):



Guinea is located in Africa. It is bordered by Mali, Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), and the Atlantic Ocean.


of households in Guinea use firewood for fuel.

7,000 km2

of Guinea’s primary rainforest remains – down from 140,000 km2  

Our work to protect Guinea’s biodiversity

Fauna & Flora International (FFI) is focusing on conserving what remains of the Upper Guinean Forest in Guinea. Situated along the border with Liberia, this forest is rich in endemic and endangered species, but is also at risk from extreme and immediate threats, such as slash-and-burn agricultural expansion, mining and poaching – driven in large part by poverty and exponential population growth.

As part of this, we have been working in the Ziama Man and Biosphere Reserve. This area – which adjoins Wonegizi proposed protected area across the border in Liberia – is home to the last remaining forest elephants in Guinea and provides a vital habitat corridor for wildlife to move between the two countries.

Since 2009, we have been working with park authorities to combat elephant poaching and alleviate human-elephant conflict within Ziama. More recently, our work here has expanded to tackle the conservation challenge more holistically by engaging with communities to help them manage their forest resources sustainably.