30 June 2020

Saving Guinea's threatened trees

By Kew Science News

Green forest in Guinea

Kew has been awarded £270,000 from the Franklinia Foundation to address threatened tree species conservation and restoration of their habitat in Guinea.

The new 3-year project builds on the outcomes of the Tropical Important Plant Areas programme in Guinea which has identified the country’s most threatened species and habitats for plants and 22 areas that need protecting the most.

Working with local communities and Guinean partners in Government, NGOs and academia, the project will improve the conservation status of threatened tree species that are mostly endemic, or near endemic, to Guinea.

Tree nurseries will be established with local communities to support reforestation projects and will incorporate the indigenous threatened tree species. 

The work will also look at reducing the threat of fire to the target species as well as encourage a policy change on in situ conservation of threatened tree species in Guinea, while creating public awareness - particularly through the engagement of schoolchildren.

An urgent need for conservation of Guinea’s many threatened tree species exists as areas of natural habitat are cleared to make way for charcoal and plank production, intensive agriculture and mining.

Preventing the loss and extinction of globally unique species that could offer new materials, food or medicine, is important for not only local livelihoods but for individuals worldwide.

Area of forest cleared with piles of wood and charcoal
Habitat cleared for charcoal production in Guinea. © Charlotte couch/RBG Kew.

Charlotte Couch (Project Officer) says

"We are very excited to take forward this new project supporting the TIPAs programme in Guinea. In particular working with local people to collect seed, raise and plant threatened trees and also bolster forest patches to provide ecosystem resilience, but also by supporting a new income stream for communities by producing trees for reforestation projects. By involving local school children in the process we hope to inspire the next generation to conserve the unique plants of Guinea and their habitats."

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