Liberia’s rainforest is among the world’s top biological hotspots because of its unique, but threatened flora and fauna. Continued high rates of deforestation may have damaging effects on the economy and employment. Norway is trying to help Liberia both save its rainforests and improve the economy and create jobs.

Why is the Rainforest in Liberia Destroyed?

Most deforestation in Liberia is caused by people trying to cover basic needs through shifting agriculture, small-scale logging and burning of charcoal.

Together with industrial logging, mining and larger scale agricultural expansion, these are the main drivers of deforestation.

Saving the Rest

The biodiversity of Liberias forests i enormous, with many species unique to this area.

The fauna and flora also include Western chimpanzees, pygmy hippos, forest elephants, leopards, pangolins and thousands of endemic species. Protecting the remains of the West African rainforest is vital to the survival of these species.

Consequences of Deforestation

Less rain and increased erosion will reduce agricultural productivity and hydropower potential.

Reduced access to “free” food, construction materials and charcoal from the forests will further drive up costs and put a strain on the economy.

Deforestation will undermine economic opportunities linked to sustainable logging, wood processing and timber exports. Natural resilience against flooding and erosion will also diminish and increase the costs of infrastructure maintenance.

Efforts to Reduce Deforestation

An action plan, outlining opportunities to reduce emissions from deforestation has been made and endorsed.

Ensuring Legal Timber

Liberia has signed a Voluntary Partnership Agreement with the EU to develop a system to ensure that all commercial timber export is legal.

When this agreement is fully implemented, the EU market will be open to Liberian timber, the export value will increase, while illegal and damaging logging will be reduced.