FFI-Rob Small-Coastal Magrove South of Lake Piso

The Lake Piso Basin has gained international and national interest for the richness of its biodiversity, its diverse ecosystems and its natural beauty. Known as a conservation hotspot in the Upper Guinea Rainforest, it has also been designated as an important bird area (IBA) and a wetland of international importance (RAMSAR site).The area is an important catchment area with three rivers (Maffa, Moffe and Mawua Rivers) and several streams emptying into it. It was proposed as a nature reserve in 1983 and is now one of top three sites prioritized by government to form a part of the Liberia’s protected area network.

Except for the cape (after which the county was named: Cape Mount), the topography of the area is relatively flat with coastal sandy soil covering to a great extent (8-10 miles from the sea coast). Beyond the coastal sandy soil, clayish loam and sandy loam soils occur. There are lakelets, lagoons, rivers and creeks found in the area which adds up to the scenic beauty of the site. Lakelets and lagoons in particular are common in the southeast of the proposed area. The altitude of the area varies between 0 to 322m above sea level.

Four main ecosystem types are found here, namely: 1) humid forest (2) wetlands and coast (3) a brackish lake covering 14,971 ha, and mangroves and (4) dry land, including extensive mixed savannah-savannah woodland on the lowland.

The Lake Piso basin hosts a number of important wildlife species including migratory birds (such as herons, plover, flamingo and ibis) and resident bird species (such as copper-tailed glossy starlings, rufus- winged illadopsis, African pied hornbill, double-spurred francolin, pied crows and the spur-winged goose). Several important mammalian species can be found in the area, including forest buffalo, black duiker, yellow-backed duiker, Maxwell’s duiker, West African Chimpanzees, Olive colobus, and the Lesser spot-nosed monkey.

The climate of the area is tropical with two major seasons: dry and rainy seasons, occurring from September – April and from March – September respectively. The average rainfall is estimated to 4,000 mm per annum with the highest precipitation in September. The temperature ranges between 29 and 32ºC (but infrequently drops between 24 – 20ºC during December and January or increases to 33ºC during March), The Average humidity is about 80 percent.