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Ivory Coast is a country in West Africa known for its rich biodiversity and tropical rainforests. The country's unique flora and fauna are essential to the functioning of the ecosystem and provide valuable ecosystem services to local communities.
However, in recent years, Ivory Coast has experienced high rates of deforestation and habitat destruction, leading to environmental degradation and loss of biodiversity.
Coconut tree plantation from a drone view.
Ivory Coast's flora is incredibly diverse, with over 4,700 species of plants identified in the country. The country's rainforests are home to a variety of tree species, including the African mahogany, ebony, and teak. The understorey of the forests is characterised by a dense growth of shrubs and smaller trees. The savannah regions of Ivory Coast are home to grasses, acacia trees, and other species adapted to drier conditions.
A group of African elephants at the Tai National Park.
Ivory Coast's fauna is also diverse, with over 400 species of mammals, 700 species of birds, and numerous reptiles, amphibians, and insects. The country's forests are home to primates like chimpanzees, colobus monkeys, and mandrills, as well as forest elephants, leopards, and antelopes. Ivory Coast's rivers and wetlands are home to hippos, crocodiles, and a variety of fish species.
The main threats to biodiversity in Ivory Coast are habitat destruction, hunting, and poaching. Deforestation for agriculture, logging, and mining has destroyed large areas of Ivory Coast's forests, threatening the survival of many plant and animal species. Hunting and poaching also pose a threat to Ivory Coast's fauna, with some species like the forest elephant facing extinction.
Read more about: Why is biodiversity important?
Efforts to protect biodiversity in Ivory Coast include government policies, international partnerships, and community-based initiatives. The National Programme for the Environment and Forests (PNEIF) aims to reduce deforestation and promote sustainable land use practices in Ivory Coast.
The country has also partnered with international organisations like the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to support the conservation and restoration of Ivory Coast's forests. At the community level, initiatives like the Community Forestry Programme have helped involve local communities in managing and protecting Ivory Coast's forests.
Read more about: The role of local communities in preserving Ivory Coast's forests
Preserving Ivory Coast's biodiversity is essential for the country's long-term environmental, social, and economic well-being. Efforts to protect biodiversity must be supported by all stakeholders, from government officials to local communities. With effective policies and partnerships, Ivory Coast can work towards a future where its unique flora and fauna are protected and thriving.
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