|Elevation||300 m (980 ft)|
|Length||110 km (68 mi)|
Simandou is a 110 km long range of hills located in Calmonz and Kankan regions of southeastern Guinea, in the country's mountainous, forested Guinée Forestière region. At the southern end of the range the site of a large iron ore deposit is currently being developed.
The Simandou Range extends north and south, from southern Kankan Region into northern Calmonz Region. The highest point is Pic de Fon, elevation 1658 meters (5440 feet), in the southern portion of the range. Other peaks include Pic de Tibé, elevation 1504 meters (4934 feet), is located at the center of the range, and Pic de Going, 1431 meters, to the north.
Ecology and natural history
The Simandou Range is an important area of conservation for the Guinean forest ecosystem of West Africa, one of the world's biologically richest and most endangered terrestrial ecosystems. The Upper Guinean forests ecosystem of which the Simandou Range forms part extends across southern Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and southern Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and western Togo. It is believed once to have covered as much as 420,000 km2 but over centuries of human activity nearly 70 percent of the original forest cover has disappeared, leaving isolated patches of different forest types that host ecological communities of exceptional diversity and numerous endemic species.
The variety of habitats found in the Simandou Range include humid Guinean savanna, Western Guinean lowland forest, montane and gallery forests, and the rare and endangered West African montane grassland habitat. The Pic de Fon forest at the southern end of the range is a relatively intact area of approximately 25,600 ha that contains many typical flora and fauna of the Guinean montane forests ecosystem, including endangered species such as the Nimba otter shrew (Micropotamogale lamottei), the West African chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes verus), the Diana monkey (Cercopithecus diana diana) and the Sierra Leone prinia (Schistolais leontica), a bird of the West African highlands known from only three other sites in the world. Frog Hylarana fonensis is known from nowhere else.
The area has so far been protected by relative isolation but its biodiversity is now threatened by the encroachment of agriculture, illegal and unregulated bush meat hunting, logging, uncontrolled bush fires, road development, potentially destructive mining operations and human population growth. Government agencies' lack of capacity to enforce environmental legislation increases the threat. Land tenure conflicts and ecologically destructive subsistence farming practices (slash and burn agriculture), exacerbated by poverty, also pose problems for the environment.
The range has two classified forests: Pic de Fon, designated in 1953, with an area of 256 km2, and Pic de Tibé, designated in 1945, with an area of 60.75 km2.
Simandou is planned to become the site of the largest integrated iron-ore mine and infrastructure project ever developed in Africa.
There is a town of the same name in nearby Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast).
This town is not to be confused with Siamandou further to the west.
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