Department of Zoology
status – the road ahead
During a Conservation Priority Setting Workshop (CPW) held in Ghana (Bakarr et al. 2001a), experts identified 41 consensus priority areas, many of which are not included in already existing protected areas, some fall within a variety of classifications of management including faunal and forest reserves (or proposed protected areas). Still others fall entirely outside any protection or management regime. Consensus recommendations of the CPW generally underscored the need to strengthen and expand national protected areas and the systems that support them across the region. These recommendations include a priority emphasis on implementing the plans to establish the protected area system in Liberia, as well as the encouragement of initiatives such as those underway by Ghana to establish Globally Significant Biodiversity Areas. Hoever, very often recommendations aim at safeguarding and/or improving the status quo by upgrading managed areas to national parks, nature reserves or wildlife sanctuaries and therby increasing levels of protection of resident biodiversity. Only little is known about the degree to which levels of biodiversity and endemism are represented within already established protected areas (for a list see Tab. 2).
Existing protected areas within the Guinean Forest Hotspot – source: Critical
Ecosystem Partnership Fund ©
Guinea Guinea Sierra Leone Sierra Leone Sierra Leone Liberia Côte d'Ivoire Côte d'Ivoire Côte d'Ivoire Côte d'Ivoire Côte d'Ivoire Côte d'Ivoire Côte d'Ivoire Côte d'Ivoire Ghana Ghana Ghana Ghana Ghana Ghana Ghana Nigeria Cameroon Equatorial Guinea Equatorial Guinea
Massif du Ziama Strict Nature Reserve Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve Tiwai Island Game Reserve Outamba-Kilimi National Park Gola Forest Nature Reserves Sapo National Park Azagny National Park Banco National Park Iles Ehotile National Park Marahoue National Park Mount Peko National Park Mount Sangbe National Park Tai National Park Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve Bia National Park Digya National Park Kakum National Park Nini-Suhien National Park Kogyae Strict Nature Reserve Bomfobiri Wildlife Sanctuary Owabi Wildlife Sanctuary Cross River National Park Korup National Park Pico Basile National Park Southern Highlands National Park
1,123 130 12 808 176 1,307 190 340 105 1,010 340 950 3,500 50 78 3,478 207 160 386 53 13 4,000 1,259 350 600
the CPW, the herpetologists A. Schiøtz and M.-O. Rödel defined 22
priority areas for the conservation of amphibian diversity. They
considered the poorly-known forests of western Côte d'Ivoire to be
areas of exceptional priority for rapid assessment. As some of these
forest patches may represent suitable corridor options between Tai
National Park and adjacent forest reserves in Liberia a detailed
inventory of their remaining fauna and flora was assumed to be
necessary. A number of recent surveys took these recommendations into
account and first results are now available (see below).
herpetological perspective – a frog’s eye view
herpetological investigations in West Africa were initiated over 100
years ago (e.g. Peters 1875, 1876, 1877, Werner 1898, Ahl 1924 a, b),
our knowledge of the herpetofauna remains poor. Hughes (1988) provided
an overview of the history of herpetological investigations in Ghana,
whilst Doucet (1963) reviewed the snakes of Côte d’Ivoire. However,
for most of the described West African amphibians and reptiles
biological data are still more or less anecdotal or completely lacking.
Despite this it was generally assumed that at least the species
inventory was nearly complete, and West Africa was generally seen as an
area of comparatively low diversity. This was reflected in Lamotte’s
(1983) statement that there was no place in West Africa where more than
40 amphibian species lived in sympatry.
investigations in Côte d'Ivoire have challenged this point of view, and
have revealed the existence of anuran communities comprising more than
30 species even in savanna habitats (Rödel 1998, 2000a, b, Rödel &
Spieler 2000). Known forest communities are much richer and comprise
between 40 and 60 species (Rödel 2000b, Rödel & Ernst unpubl.).
3: Map featuring major West African Biomes (inlet pictures right, top to
bottom: Sub Sudan Savanna, Savanna-Forest Ecotone, Lowland Rainforest;
left top: Guinean Highlands).
new amphibian species have been described from West Africa alone, within
the last eight years, and more new species still await description (Perret
1994; Lamotte & Ohler 1997; Rödel 1998; Rödel & Ernst 2000, in
press; Rödel et al. in press a, b). The anuran diversity therefore
exceeds even that of many Neotropical regions (Ernst & Rödel unpubl.),
and similar species diversity has also been reported for snakes (Hallermann
& Rödel 1995, Böhme 1999; Rödel et al. 1995, 1999, Rödel &
Mahsberg 2000, Ernst & Rödel in press b, Ineich 2002). Preliminary
analysis suggests that more than 200 species of reptiles, a quarter of
which are endemic, are found in the region, including more than 100
species of snakes and all three species of African crocodiles. Among the
distinctive endemics are the Los Archipelago worm lizard (Cynisca leonina), Benson's skink (Trachylepis bensonii), and the Liberia worm snake (Typhlops leucostictus).
Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde Stuttgart
|Department of Zoology