East Nimba Nature Reserve (ENNR)

Blue LakeThe East Nimba Nature Reserve (ENNR) was established on October the 10th, 2003, and covers an area of 11,553 hectares. Located in the North of Liberia, the Reserve borders both Guinea and Cote d’Ivoire and covers much of Liberia’s share of the Mount Nimba Mountain Range. The Mount Nimba Range is recognized for its high animal and plant species diversity, and considered both internationally and nationally an area of highest conservation importance. At the same time, however, the Range is also known for its high quality iron ore deposits, resulting in high levels of extraction especially in the second half of the 20th century, accompanied by serious environmental destruction, including mountaintop removal, road construction and forest clearing. In ENNR, you can still see those past impacts today, for example the Blue Lake and its surrounding terraces (Photo above). Since its establishment, ENNR is acknowledged as fully Protected Area under the Liberian law, and although it lies within ArcelorMittal Liberia (AML) iron ore concession area, the company recognizes its status and no mining takes place within ENNR today. The Reserve continues to protect both lowland and submontane forest and forms a stronghold for a number of endangered and endemic species, including the West African Chimpanzee, Jentink’s Duiker, Leopard, Nimba Otter Shrew, Bare-headed Rockfowl, Nimba Flycatcher and the viviparous Nimba Toad.

However, ENNR’s considerable biodiversity is also under threat. Since its establishment, due to civil unrest, lack of funds etc., the Reserve for a long time was not actively managed, resulting in ongoing extraction of natural resources by locals, for both subsistence and commercial use, including bushmeat. In 2010, a Co-Management Agreement was signed between the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) and the stakeholder communities in order to jointly manage the East Nimba Nature Reserve through a joint board, called the Co-Management Committee (CMC). In 2014, a 5-year Management Plan for the Reserve was endorsed by the Government, but due to the Ebola crisis its implementation could only start in late 2015, with the East Nimba Nature Reserve Conservation Project.  The visitor’s information about the reserve will guide you about what to bring, what to do and many others.