The rainforests in much of west Africa have been devastated over the last few decades, however in small regions worker saved ecosystems from the chainsaw.
Sapo national park in East Liberia is one of the most important remaining fragments of rainforest in West Africa. However having been expanded only a few years ago the locals are fully behind a further expansion of this important protected area. More than 40% of Africa’s remaining upper Guinea rainforest lies within Liberia and so any increase in the protected land can only be positive.
Several years ago there was significant poaching within the park and the surrounding area. After the clashes with locals the people who ran the park engage properly with the locals and the surrounding area. As in many other parts of Africa, the locals don’t get much benefit from being next to this large tourism destination, in the past this has led to hunting and mining.
As the Education of locals improved the situation and they stopped taking part in these activities that damage the park authorities found that people were coming in from further afield.
A sensible solution was found for this problem. A team of people were employed in the vicinity of each entry point. Their job was to keep an eye out for Hunters and Miners going into the park and make sure that any news got back to the authorities. For this they were paid $50 each month which meant that they no longer needed to hunt themselves to be able to survive.
This solution lead to both the local people having a greater level of financial security and and greater security for the park with the locals invested in the long term pricing of the wildlife that they live alongside. This is a wonderful solution, though probably works better in places like this where the park is remote and a local population is small, while there are other projects like this we should hope that more of them are set up as they are very successful in reducing poaching where they exist.