GUINEAN FORESTS OF WESTERN AFRICA BY KATIE NORTON AND MARIA FLOUSKAKOS

The Guinean forest of west Africa is home to more than a quarter of Africa's mammals. It encompasses all of the lowland forests of political west Africa. Also, it includes countries of Liberia Ivory coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria. the hotspot includes two sub regions which include upper Guinea and Nigeria Cameroon. The Guinean forests consist of a range of distinct vegetation zones varying from moist forests along the coast, freshwater swamp forests, semi deciduous forest inland with prolonged dry seasons.

Species of the Guinean Forest

The Guinean forest of West Africa supports nearly 785 bird species,of which 75 species and seven genera are endemic. BirdLife International has recognized six Endemic Bird Areas as lying partly or entirely within the hotspot. These forests are home to 10 species of hornbills.Mammal diversity in the hotspot is very high. West Africa's estimated 320 species represent more than a quarter of the roughly 1,100 total mammal species found on the entire continent of Africa. More than 60 of these mammals are endemic to the region, including 18 species of primate. There are four endemic subspecies on Bioko Island. Among the species found within the Guinean Forests include the Diana monkey, chimpanzees and western lowland gorillas. Additionally there are more than 200 species of reptiles, a quarter of which are endemic, are found in the region, including more than 100 species of snakes and all three species of African crocodiles. Amphibians are also poorly documented in the region, but it is estimated that almost 225 amphibians inhabit the hotspot, including more than 80 endemics. With more than 510 freshwater fishes, 35 percent of which are thought to be endemic. About a quarter of the world's 350 species of killifish live here, half of which are endemic. Cichlid fishes are also prominent, with more than half of the over 60 species endemic to the hotspot.

Threats of the Guinean Forests

The forest have been dramatically reduce to a series of fragments separated by agricultural communities and degraded lands. Threats to the bio diversity of the Guinean forest include ecosystem degrade Dacian caused by extractive practices such as mining and bushmeat hunting. Additional human impacts include logging, and mining. Today logging in agriculture continue to post serious threats against the survival of this hotspot of biodiversity. Illegal logging makes up most of the timber problem. Furthermore for tile soil's have become overused and useless but the demand is only increasing which only puts the remaining forest areas in trouble.

Conservation Efforts

Various environmental and government groups have been working to preserve the Guinean forest of west Africa. Country governments in this region have made efforts by creating national parks and other protected areas. International groups like conservation international and world wildlife fund have sponsored and organize projects to connect protected areas with conservation Corps doors. And I'll come to this effort was to join the Congo basin and I Andrea Cameron forest which occurred in 2000. Additionally conservation international has been working and Garnett is substantially reduce the bushmeat trade by reviving cultural traditions which discourage killing wildlife and by promoting bio diversity education.

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