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The Gola Rainforest National Park

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The Gola Rainforest National Park (GRNP) is located in Sierra Leone in West Africa covering 750 square km. it is also referred to as the Upper Guinea Forest. The collaborative goals including groups such as the European Union (EU), FFEM, Green Climate Fund (GCF) and the Darwin Initiative for the rainforest are “ i) improve the conservation strategy and effective management of the GRNP, ii) enable sustainable resource management in the National Park and nearby surrounding area (referred to as the project zone) through livelihood improvement activities with communities living adjacent to the National Park (known as Forest Edge Communities, iii) develop a monitoring program that provides robust information to underpin management decisions and a research program that allows Gola to become a recognized international centre of excellence iv) build conservation funds that will provide a means of ensuring conservation actions last beyond the 30-year lifetime of the GRNP REDD project.” [2] The forests were largely exploited during colonial times and are expected to be threatened mining and hunting in the coming years because of extensive population growth. Through the efforts of the Gola Forest Programme and other contributing groups, the Gola Forest was recognized as a national park in Febuary 2011. [3] Civil war also pushed many refugees into the forests, forcing citizens to rely on the forest which further intensifying pressures on the forest which is home is “325 species of birds (16 on the IUCN RedList), at least 370 species of butterflies, and 970 plant species (21 on the IUCN RedList). The area is also important in the provision of fresh water to local communities, and is estimated to have a total carbon stock of more than 13 million tons.” [4]

The park currently employs 80 staff members working in 6 separate departments; training & development, community development research and monitoring, park operations, administration and finance working together to conserve this natural habitat and further develop the community in sustainable ways. [5]

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