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Kew's projects in West Africa

Kew is helping to save plants and habitats in West Africa and empower local communities.

On expedition in Mali (Image: RBG Kew)

Surveying plant life in Cameroon

Plant life is under threat in many regions of Cameroon. Working together with our partners, Kew has surveyed plant life in Cameroon to improve our understanding of the range of plant species found there, and identify plants and habitats under threat. This work has been carried out in areas rich in vegetation, across different seasons.

In the Bamenda Highlands region of Cameron, it is estimated that 96.5% of the original forest cover, above 1500 metres in altitude, has been lost. Bali Ngemba represents both the largest and the only officially protected block of forest, below 2000 metres altitude, in the Bamenda Highlands and is of great biological importance. Twenty-four plant species that Kew documented are new and previously unknown to science - each of these plant species appear to be threatened and will probably be ascribed to the Red Data list.

In the Bali Ngemba forest reserve, 12 plant species are found here and nowhere else in the world. A further 11 plant species are found in only one other locality outside the reserve.

As well as surveying plant life and identifying species at risk, our projects have helped to heighten awareness of plant life under threat in Camroon. They have generated local interest and global publicity. 

Data and information gathered from Kew's conservation surveys will be used to help the future management of these biologically important areas. They will help us identify priority plant species for conservation, and help us understand how their chances of survival might be increased.

Kew's Millennium Seed Bank in West Africa

Many of the vulnerable species of West Africa are located in dry zones between the Sahara desert in the North, and the remnant tropical humid forests in the South. Kew's Millennium Seed Bank partnership is collecting and conserving the seed of many important West African wild species that are threatened. Seed collections are banked in Burkina Faso, Mali and at Kew's Millennium Seed Bank at Wakehurst Place, West Sussex in the UK.

Kew's Millennium Seed Bank partnership is helping countries in West Africa that experience drought and desertification to conserve around 800 important wild species,  about one quarter of the region's flora.

Kew's Millennium Seed Bank partnership in Mali and Burkina Faso

Setting-up a National Herbarium to support plant identification and conservation in Guinea

Guinea-Conakry is on the edge of the Upper Guinea forest area. The region has the most extensive and geologically diverse upland area in West Africa. Of these upland areas, both the Fouta Djalon and Mount Nimba are well known for a collection of plant species that are only found in this part of the world.

Before Kew got involved, Guinea had no functioning herbarium and no recorded national Flora. Kew is helping to set up a National Herbarium in the capital city, Guinea-Conakry. We are sharing knowledge and skills to help build the capacity of botanists in the country. Kew is also supporting the rehabilitation of the botanic garden at Camayenne, in Conakry, and its use as a centre for environmental work.


Help Kew save plant life for our future - save a plant species outright or adopt a seed for just £25

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30 November 2009
i'm just come back from guinea conakry, i have made a job with chimpanzes, i made a synthetic floristic release from forest and i want to have help for a verification because it will be used for chimpanzes