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Post by kosovohp on Fri Oct 29, 2010 11:56 pm

Logging, mining, slash and burn, and deforestation for land conversion - such as cattle grazing - have dramatically diminished forested land in Sierra Leone since the 1980s. Correspondingly the habitat for the African Wild Dog, Lycaon pictus, has been decreased, such that this canid is deemed to have been extirpated in Sierra Leone.[37]

Until 2002, Sierra Leone lacked a forest management system due to a brutal civil war that caused tens of thousands of deaths. Deforestation rates have increased 7.3% since the end of the civil war.[38] On paper, 55 protected areas covered 4.5% of Sierra Leone as of 2003. The country has 2,090 known species of higher plants, 147 mammals, 626 birds, 67 reptiles, 35 amphibians, and 99 fish species.[38]

The Environmental Justice Foundation has documented how the number of illegal fishing vessels in Sierra Leone's waters has multiplied in recent years. The amount of illegal fishing has significantly depleted fish stocks, depriving local fishing communities of an important resource for survival. The situation is particularly serious as fishing provides the only source of income for many communities in a country still recovering from over a decade of civil war.[39]

In June 2005, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and Bird Life International agreed to support a conservation-sustainable development project in the Gola Forest in southeastern Sierra Leone,[40] an important surviving fragment of rainforest in Sierra Leone.

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