The Gola Forest is the most important area of forest remaining in Sierra Leone – the second poorest country on earth – and is recognised as one of the world’s key ‘biodiversity hotspots’. This RSPB project aims to ensure that the area is protected in perpetuity and that the people who live around it benefit from its protection. In the absence of this work, the forest would be destroyed by a combination of logging, mining and conversion to agricultural land.
The Gola Forest
The Gola Forest, in Sierra Leone, learnt at the end of February 2011 that over 70,000 hectares had been approved by the Government as a National Park.
The culmination of over 20 years work in Sierra Leone, the new National Park will help to conserve over 330 bird species, 14 of which are threatened. The habitat houses birds such as the white-necked picathartes and Gola malimbe. It is also a remaining stronghold of pygmy hippopotamus and chimpanzees. The list of butterfly species exceeds the bird list, and includes some new to science - discovered by the project.
The project also employs over 100 Sierra Leoneans and in the past 7 years has delivered over 40 community development projects in the forest edge communities around the Gola Forest.