Guinea has more than 250 documented unique and threatened plant species, more than is known for any other country in West Africa. To protect them should be not only a national priority but a global one. Among these species – these natural resources – are the potential for new medicines, materials, and foods that could improve the livelihoods of Guineans through research and development. However, time is running out. Already 35 of Guinea’s rarest plant species are possibly extinct, and 25 of these species are, or were, globally unique to Guinea. These species have not been found in more than 50 years, despite our surveys to seek them, and appear to have been destroyed unknowingly as a result of human activities. Guinea will continue to develop, with increased mining, improved agriculture, new roads, new industry, larger towns and cities, and more infrastructure to support them. This future development will impact on the natural environment. In this book, we document Guinea’s most threatened habitats for plants, the 22 most important areas for the conservation of these habitats, and the threatened plant species that they contain. If the 22 Tropical Important Plant Areas (TIPAs) that are mapped in this book can be protected, much of Guinea’s national patrimony in terms of wild plant resources will be safeguarded. Altogether, these 22 areas occupy 8,702km², 3.5% of the surface area of Guinea. Several of these areas are already protected, such as Nimba and Ziama. Others are not protected, such as Kounounkan, which has more globally unique species than any other location in Guinea, yet where forest destruction continues. The 22 TIPAs that are mapped in this book include: –– Over 60% of Guinea’s threatened plant species –– Guinea’s most species-rich documented sites –– Important indigenous socio-economic species –– The highest quality areas of each of the nine threatened habitats. We hope that this book, a joint product of Guinean and UK-based scientists, government officials, and NGO staff, will result in increased protection and better management of Guinea’s plant diversity.
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