Fauna & Flora International helps discover new tree in Liberia

A new species of tree – possibly a second species of Apodiscus– has been discovered in the forests in Sapo National Park in southern Liberia in West Africa.

“This discovery is significant because it shows not only the rich botanical diversity that exists in Liberia but also how little we know about the trees and forests that are being destroyed and degraded the world over,” said Dr Georgina Magin, Global Trees Campaign Coordinator at Fauna & Flora International (FFI).

The large, flowering forest tree was discovered during surveys supported by FFI’s Global Trees Campaign in December last year.

The surveys were conducted in Liberia’s coastal rainforest and former national forests, including the Cestos-Sehnkwehn proposed protected area, Sapo National Park and the Kpelle National Forest in the west of the country.

In addition to the new tree in Sapo, new plant species were also found in other areas.In the proposed protected area of Cestos-Sehnkwehn a previously unknown species of Jollydora (a genus not previously known west of Nigeria), a new Draceana species and a possible new wild Coffea species were recorded.

Information was also gathered about several local endemic trees, including Tetraberlinia tubmanniana.

Photographs and specimens from 400 plant species, including over 200 species of tree were collected, which will be included in a new Tree Atlas of Liberia currently being produced by Dr AG Voorhoeve of the Burke Museum, University of Washington in the US.

The survey was led by Dr Carel Jongkind and the team included staff and students from Liberia’s government and the University of Liberia.