Sub-national Launch of the Grebo-Krahn National Park

Sub-national Launch of the Grebo-Krahn National Park
April 20, 2018 2:04 pm News

On August 22, 2017, the government of Liberia passed a bill officially designating 96,149.89 hectares of Liberia’s forest as the Grebo-Krahn National Park. The National Park is globally recognized as a biodiversity hotspot. It is home to one of the largest populations of the critically endangered West African chimpanzee, the endangered pygmy hippopotamus, western red colobus, vulnerable diana monkey, forest elephant, leopard, and other numerous threatened and enedemic species. So far, about 300 species of fauna and 220 species of plant life have been observed in the forest. It is located in the South-East of the country and lies at the heart of the Taï-Grebo-Sapo Transboundary Forest Complex. The forest is of great importance in mitigating climate change, conserving biodiversity, and ensuring fertile soil for local communities. 56 communities live within the fringes of the National Park, and depend on the natural resources. Because of its rich source of resources, the proposed National Park has been plaqued with threats; hunting for bushmeat, illegal mining, illegal logging, and encroachment into the proposed protected area/national forest by illegal farmers (cocoa plantations) are the main threats faced by the forest.

Following the passing of the bill by the government, and as part of its strategy to reduce these threats to a bare minimum, the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) of Liberia successfully completed the Sub-national launch of the Grebo-Krahn National Park (GKNP) at the Zwedru City Hall in Grand Gedeh County on April 14, 2018. The event brought together over 250 participants including traditional leaders, the County Superintendent, the Managing Director and two Deputy Managing Directors of FDA, and representatives from partners such as Wild Chimpanzee Foundation (WCF), West Africa Biodiversity and Climate Change (WA BiCC/USAID), the German Agency of Technical Cooperation (GIZ), and the German Development Bank (KFW). All these partners are currently supporting FDA in different ways to conserve the Tai-Grebo-Krahn-Sapo Transboundary Forest Landscape between Liberia and Cote d’Ivoire.

In their remarks, all stakeholders pledged their commitment to work with FDA in the management of the Park. The Paramount Chiefs of River-Gee and Grand Gedeh Counties specifically pledged their commitments to ensure that the GKNP becomes the shining star of Protected Area Management and Community Support in Liberia.

In his remarks, the FDA Managing Director said, “We appreciate the assistance we’re getting from our international partners to help manage our forest, but before they came, we’ve had our own system of conservation in place already. This is why this big forest is still standing here today. This project will be successful because the people of this region have agreed to support it. Thank you, my people.  We are doing this for our country and mankind”.

Since 2009, the Liberian Forestry Development Authority has been working with counterparts in Côte d’Ivoire to manage the complex for the conservation of biodiversity and participatory sustainable management of natural resources of this ecosystem, while considering the well-being of the local populations. This launch brings added support in effectively fulfilling these goals of the Forestry Development Authority.

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