Forestry Development Authority

Mount, Liberia

Forestry Development Authority

Mount, Liberia

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News Article | May 8, 2017
Site: www.theguardian.com

Two forest rangers have been killed by a violent mob in a Liberian rainforest after discovering a community illegally settling and hunting in the park, according to authorities. On 27 April rangers at Sapo National Park, the country’s largest protected area of rainforest and its first national park, were assaulted by several settlers. The attacks were reportedly in retaliation to the recent wave of arrests by rangers of 20 community members who had been caught hunting illegally in the park, where all animals are protected. The unarmed rangers discovered a new base created by the settlers. “They ambushed them using single-barrel shot guns,” Darlington Tuagben, managing director of Liberia’s Forestry Development Authority told the Liberian Observer. One of the rangers died at the scene, while the other died in hospital a day after the attack. The ranger “was beaten and tortured to death”, said Tuagben. Four other rangers were hospitalised. “This kind of behaviour is no longer in any civilised world including Liberia. It is barbaric and unacceptable,” said Tuagben. The attack took place just one month after a ranger was tortured by other illegal settlers in the forest. Sapo National Park is home to a variety of endangered species, including elephants, pangolins, pygmy hippos and western chimpanzees. It is one of west Africa’s most intact forest ecosystems. The park was pillaged by poachers, loggers and miners during the Liberian civil war from 1990 to 2003, and the government and the United Nations have since implemented major resettlement programmes and PR campaigns to raise support for conservation. Farming, logging, construction, hunting, and human settlement have been illegal since 2003. Despite conservation efforts by the government and NGOs, illicit activities inside the park have soared in the last decade. More than 1,000 people occupy Sapo illegally, according to Tuagben, who told the Liberian Observer that people remain hostile to park authorities and those trying to protect it. He said he has requested that the police deploy armed men to work alongside forest rangers. If you would like to contact us with a story about elephant conservation and wildlife rangers, please email elephant.conservation@theguardian.com.


Collen B.,UK Institute of Zoology | Howard R.,Fauna and Flora International | Konie J.,Forestry Development Authority | Daniel O.,UK Institute of Zoology | And 2 more authors.
ORYX | Year: 2011

Conservation of a threatened species is reliant upon good quality monitoring information to provide population estimates and trends to inform management practices. Surveying to establish such data can be costly and difficult, particularly for cryptic species in forest habitats. We therefore used remotely triggered cameras to survey for the presence of the pygmy hippopotamus Choeropsis liberiensis in Sapo National Park in Liberia. In 1,247 trap days we obtained seven camera-trap photographs, the first photographic records of the species in Liberia. Habitat destruction, principally from illegal gold mining, is the greatest threat to the persistence of the pygmy hippopotamus within the Park. A range-wide survey of the pygmy hippopotamus is required to establish a robust baseline from which future conservation efforts can be developed. Understanding how this species is able to cope with the effects of habitat fragmentation across its range, and controlling commercial hunting, will dictate how it is able to survive the ongoing pressures of land conversion in West Africa. © 2011 Fauna & Flora International.


Junker J.,Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology | Boesch C.,Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology | Boesch C.,Wild Chimpanzee Foundation | Mundry R.,Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology | And 5 more authors.
Biological Conservation | Year: 2015

We are in the midst of an unprecedented environmental crisis. Landscapes have become complex social-ecological systems in which anthropogenic activities and biophysical factors interact across multiple scales. The integration of socio-economic development processes into conservation strategies as a means of sustainable resource management requires a deep understanding of the interactions between human activities and natural processes. Attempts to combine socio-economic and biological datasets for analyses, however, have frequently been hampered by spatial, temporal and methodological incompatibilities. In this study, we investigate the effects of human well-being on their environment in Liberia, West Africa. More specifically, we tested whether regions with improved community and household wealth, better education and access to market towns and fish protein, had higher levels of large mammal species richness and densities of the flagship species of West African forests, the chimpanzee (. Pan troglodytes verus). Controlling for human pressure, forest cover and cultural diversity, we found that high literacy rates and affordable fish protein correlated with high chimpanzee density. On the other hand, areas with better economic and infrastructure development coincided with reduced large mammal species richness compared to less developed areas. This indicates that wildlife depletion rates can only be understood by including economic and social constraints. These results are important for informing effective future conservation management strategies in Liberia and elsewhere in tropical Africa. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.


Junker J.,Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology | Boesch C.,Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology | Boesch C.,Wild Chimpanzee Foundation | Freeman T.,Forestry Development Authority | And 4 more authors.
Basic and Applied Ecology | Year: 2015

Half of what remains of the 'Guinean Forests of West Africa hotspot' is located in Liberia. However, only about 2% of the country is officially protected. We systematically identified and evaluated priority areas for the protection of large mammals and biodiversity in Liberia under different conservation scenarios. We also assessed current proposed protected areas (PPAs) in terms of achieving pre-determined conservation targets, and determined potential wildlife and biodiversity loss within logging and mining concessions. We systematically collected nationwide data on chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes verus) abundance, large mammal and tree taxonomic diversity, and human threats. We related these to environmental and human impact variables to develop nationwide spatial prediction models that also served as base-layers for spatial prioritization using MARXAN. We improved upon standard software output to evaluate spatial properties of selected sites, determine site-specific target contributions, and estimate potential wildlife and biodiversity loss within logging and mining concessions. The optimal conservation area network contained a candidate list of 92 areas that maximized biodiversity and chimpanzee abundance, minimized threats, and accomplished the preservation of 30% of Liberia's forests. It included more than half of West Africa's second largest chimpanzee population, which spatially coincided with that of some of the most diverse large mammal and tree communities. Logging and mining concessions largely overlapped with existing PPAs and conservation priority areas established in this study, and considerably increased their fragmentation. Existing PPAs, however, only partially covered our areas of prioritization and proved insufficient in meeting conservation targets. We emphasize the need for finding a balance between development and biodiversity conservation, such as through aggregate biodiversity offsets, the use of which is currently being discussed by local government, international investors, and conservation NGOs. Die Hälfte des 'Guinean Forests of West Africa hotspot' liegt in Liberia, jedoch sind nur ungefähr 2% des Landes offiziell geschützt. Wir haben systematisch Gegenden von hoher Priorität bezüglich des Schutzes großer Säugetiere und Biodiversität unter Verwendung verschiedener Naturschutzszenarien in Liberia identifiziert und evaluiert. Zusätzlich haben wir aktuell vorgeschlagene bzw. zukünftige Naturschutzgebiete (PPAs) dahingehend bewertet, ob vorbestimmte Naturschutzziele erreicht werden können. Außerdem haben wir potentielle Wild- und Biodiversitätsverluste bestimmt, die durch die zukünftige Abholzung und den Abbau von Rohmineralien zu erwarten sind. Hierzu erhoben wir systematisch und landesweit Daten über das Vorkommen von Schimpansen (Pan troglodytes verus) und der taxonomischen Diversität großer Säuger und Bäumen sowie der Bedrohung, die von den Menschen ausgeht. Diese Daten setzten wir dann in Relation mit ökologischen und menschlichen Einflüssen, um landesweite räumliche Abundanz- und Verbreitungsmodelle zu entwickeln, welche gleichzeitig als Grundlage für die Priorisierung mit dem Softwareprogramm MARXAN dienten. Die Leistung dieser Software haben wir erheblich verbessert indem wir die Datenausgabe von MARXAN zusätzlich nachbearbeitet haben um so räumliche Eigenschaften von ausgewählten Gegenden besser auszuwerten, ortsspezifische Beiträge zu den vorbestimmten Naturschutzzielen besser bestimmen zu können und die potentiellen Auswirkungen der Konzessionen für Holz- und Rohstoffabbau (Konzessionen) zu bewerten. Die potenziellen Schutzgebiete, welche unter der Prämisse optimaler Landnutzung bestimmt wurden, beinhalteten 92 Gegenden. Diese waren hauptsächlich im stark bewaldeten Nordwesten und dem Südosten lokalisiert unter Berücksichtigung maximaler Biodiversität und Schimpansendichte, bei gleichzeitig minimaler menschlicher Bedrohung und Bezug nehmend auf das Regierungsziel 30% des restlichen Waldes schützen zu wollen. Diese Gebiete beinhalteten mehr als 50% der gesamten liberianischen Schimpansenpopulation. Die Verbreitung dieser Schimpansen korrelierte signifikant mit einigen der artenreichsten Populationen großer Säugetiere und Baumarten. Erteilte Konzessionen erhöhten deutlich die Zersplitterung von Naturschutzgebieten. PPAs überlappten teilweise mit Gebieten hoher Priorität, aber es zeigte sich, dass diese nicht ausreichen um die vorbestimmten Naturschutzziele zu erreichen. Ein Großteil der Konzessionen überlappte mit existierenden PPAs und Gebieten hoher Priorität und zwar so weit, dass momentane Pläne zur Rohstoffentwicklung in Liberia zukünftige Naturschutzbemühungen untergraben und das langfristige Überleben einer der letzten großen Schimpansenpopulationen in Westafrika und der einheimischen Biodiversität gefährden könnte. Wir betonen die Notwendigkeit ein Gleichgewicht zwischen Entwicklung und Naturschutz zu schaffen, wie zum Beispiel durch 'aggregate biodiversity offsets', dessen Nutzung gerade von der Regierung, internationalen Investoren und Nichtregierungsorganisationen, die im Naturschutz tätig sind, diskutiert wird. © 2015 Gesellschaft für Ökologie.

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