Tropical Important Plant Areas (TIPAs) in Guinea-Conakry

Identifying Tropical Important Plant Areas (TIPAs) of Guinea-Conakry, West Africa.

Guinea-Conakry's income depends on increasing open-cast mining by multinational companies, the largest being listed in London with investments by British taxpayers through pension funds. These initiatives and new infrastructure projects, along with continued habitat clearance for fuel and agriculture, will result in major losses of natural habitat. Guinea has numerous highly range-restricted plant species and rare vegetation types which are consequently at risk of unwitting extinction.

The existing protected area network focuses on maintaining timber resources for exploitation (Foret Classe) or protecting large animals (National Parks) or wetlands (Ramsar sites); most of the plant species of highest global priority for conservation are outside protected areas and are therefore offered little or no protection.

An effective means of conservation prioritisation is required if Guinea’s biodiversity is to be safeguarded, focusing efforts on the sites that require protection. Guinea’s capacity to do this is severely hampered by a lack of scientific expertise and infrastructure. The 2014 fifth national progress report on Guinea’s Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) commitments emphasises the need for greater capacity in the identification of Guinea’s biodiversity, and more accessible data on its threatened species and key sites for protection, as well as the need to disseminate these findings effectively to encourage community-level engagement in biodiversity protection. While considerable progress has been made with regard to Guinea’s charismatic fauna, access to data and expertise on plants remains limited.

The assessment of Important Plant Areas (IPAs) offers a practical but rigorous means of identifying site-based conservation priorities. IPAs are aligned to Target 5 of the CBD's 'Global Strategy for Plant Conservation' and so offer an important step towards fulfilling national CBD targets. Discussions between Kew and partners in Guinea have indicated enthusiasm to adopt the IPA approach and threatened species data to inform decision making on prioritisation of areas for conservation efforts.

Kew conceived and leads this project.


  • Consultative capacity building workshops on plant conservation prioritisation with partners in Guinea, providing data and expertise needed to inform selection of protected areas.
  • Raised public awareness of the global importance of Guinea’s rare plant species and vegetation types through workshops and providing materials to schoolteachers in Guinea, and through national publicity.
  • Avoiding extinction of Guinea’s endemic, threatened and socio-economically important plant species through inclusion in Important Plant Areas with national and/or community protection.
  • Training Booklet for Guinean Secondary School Teachers on Plant Conservation Priorities in Guinea.
  • Fact sheets for each Tropical Important Plant Area (TIPA) identified.
  • Red Data Book on the Plants of Guinea.
  • Book on the Important Plant Areas of Guinea.
  • Guinea TIPAs map
  • Conservation Action Plan for threatened tree species in Guinea
  • TIPAs Explorer: discover the critical sites for plant diversity


Darwin Initiative (DEFRA)

Rio Tinto Guinea


The Ellis Goodman Family Foundation 

Fondation Franklinia

Couch, C., Cheek, M., Haba, P., Molmou, D., Williams, J., Magassouba, S., Doumbouya & Diallo, M.Y. (2019).

Threatened Habitats and Tropical Important Plant Areas of Guinea, West Africa.

ISBN: 9781527240650.

Couch, C., Magassouba, S., Rokni, S., Williams, E., Canteiro, C. & Cheek, M. (2019). 

Threatened plants species of Guinea-Conakry: A preliminary checklist.

PeerJ Preprints 7: e3451v4

Cheek, M., Magassouba, S., Howes, M.J.R., Doré, T., Doumbouya, S., Molmou, D., Grall, A., Couch, C., Larridon, I. (2018).

Kindia (Pavetteae, Rubiaceae), a new cliff-dwelling genus with chemically profiled colleter exudate from Mt Gangan, Republic of Guinea. 

PeerJ 6: e4666.