Close up view through the dense, lush green  plant life, in the sun

Conserving West Africa's Forests

Conserving West Africa’s forests for Nature, People and Climate

Guinean Forests of West Africa Biodiversity Hotspot

Close up view of a white-necked picathartes, perched on a twig of a tree at night, lit up by the camera light, with a black night time sky background seen through gaps in the tree leaves

Biodiversity hotspots are regions that are rich in nature and are home to species found nowhere else.


The Guinean Forests of West Africa Biodiversity Hotspot is one of these special places, with over 900 species of birds and over a quarter of all mammal species found in Africa.


Image © Guy Shorrock

Why they’re important

Group of local people waling down a dirt path in Harapan

These forests are not only vital for biodiversity, but also for climate change mitigation – as the vegetation and soils store significant amounts of carbon.


They are also of importance to local communities, who depend on fresh water, food and medicines from the forest. The forests are also central to their local identity, culture and livelihoods.


Image © Guy Shorrock

How is RSPB involved?

Aerial view of a murky brown river meandering through a dense green rainforest, under scattered clouds

Recognising the importance of this hotspot, we investigated how nature and carbon intersect throughout the forests which span 13 countries. 
It showed that the best places for nature – Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) – are also crucial in the fight against climate change and can provide a range of livelihood opportunities for local communities.


But these precious places are at risk, and we are supporting local partners to safeguard the forests, while working to raise the importance of this landscape.

West African Nature and Carbon Story Map arrow-down-simple-blue arrow-down-simple-blue

The Gola Rainforest

Male researcher using binoculars to look up into the green trees of the rainforest, on a sunny day

Nestled at the heart of this globally important biodiversity hotspot is the Greater Gola Landscape, where RSPB has been working for almost 30 years.


We are collaborating with local partners (the Society for the Conservation of Nature of Liberia and the Conservation Society of Sierra Leone), national governments and local communities on a series of projects that are delivering nature-based solutions to climate change. We also provide policy support to build local capacity and expertise.


Image © Caroline Thomas