Liberia has huge areas of intact rainforest: some of the last in west africa. Now its under threat

After the civil war, the Liberian government made a sensible decision in giving communities control to conserve the rainforests around their villages.

Despite this exploration companies have started turning up with permits to explore. These are often dubious, but it is quite common that by the time a permit has been proved false, it is too late.

Unfortunately, in this case it seems that companies are ignoring the laws and getting authorisation from the government directly. Despite their own laws, they appear to be helping this happen. When one of the project managers rang a politician to complain, he was told off for embarrassing the president.

After months of trying to get answers and being stalled, the project manager simply filled a claim in the local court. Given the laws in place, the judge ruled in his favour and ordered the work to stop. However, by this time many people had changed sides.

Back in 2012 a government official had used a loophole had been exploited by people from the national government local government and even loggers and communities themselves. Using these loggers got hold of deeds for roughly half the country.

After much time it was found that Soloway a company with roots in Russia was behind the work, and they started splashing cash around and promises of jobs. Unfortunately, the story does not end well. Under threats and misleadingly written promises an agreement was signed.

It would appear that although many organisations around the world promised big on projects and work for the people in the area, these did not deliver, and so they started looking elsewhere.

My hope is that it is not too late to correct this, but in this place it may be too late. When promises are made to aid conservation we must make sure that they are kept.

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