Guinean montane forests
The ecoregion occupies the portions of the Guinea Highlands lying above 600 meters elevation, extending across portions of Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Côte d'Ivoire. It includes the Fouta Djallon plateau and the Simandou and Ziama Massifs in Guinea, the Loma Mountains and Tingi Hills in Sierra Leone, the Mount Nimba range in Guinea, Liberia, and Côte d'Ivoire, and other nearby mountains such as Mont Péko in Côte d'Ivoire. Mount Bintumani in the Loma Mountains is the highest peak in West Africa west of Mount Cameroon. The next highest peaks in the region are the Tingi Hills and the Sankan Biriwa.
Average rainfall is between 1,600-2400 mm per year and many important rivers have their sources in these mountains.
These mountains have a distinct plant cover in various phases according to elevation, with up to 35 endemic species including a Rhipidoglossum orchid found only on Mount Nimba. Common plant types in the humid mountain valleys include Uapaca togoensis, Cola lateritia maclaudii, Parinari excelsa, Piptadeniastrum africanum and Canarium schweinfurthii. Higher altitudes of the Loma and the Tingi are covered with a savanna of Syzygium, Kotschya ochreata, Monechma depauperatum, and the tree ferns, Cyathea subg. Cyathea manniana and Cyathea dregei. Other areas of high prairie are known for Gladiolus, Solenostemon monostachyus latericola, Cyanotis longiflora, and Thesium tenuissimum. Finally the high gallery forest is dominated by Parinari excelsa with the tree fern, Cyathea camerooniana, and the bamboo, Oxytenanthera abyssinica.
Threats and preservation
The landscape has been badly affected by mining on Mount Nimba and general clearance for farming as well as more recent civil war in Sierra Leone and Liberia. There are four main protected areas: Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve in Guinea and Côte d'Ivoire (with plans to extend into Liberia), and Ziama Strict Nature Reserve in Guinea. Despite its park status iron ore mining on Mount Nimba was still ongoing up until the Liberian Civil War, while the Loma Mountains are perhaps the best preserved part of the region.
- "Guinean montane forests." WWF ecoregion profile. Accessed November 16, 2012 
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