Natural forest formations
Forest cover map
Aubréville (1949) distinguishes two major phytogeographic zones in Côte d'Ivoire, separated by an intermediate zone:
- In the north there is a zone of open forest and Guinean savannah woodland. The open forest (meaning dry open forest) looks like true forest, since the trees are sometimes close enough for their crowns to seem joined; however, there is practically no shrubby undergrowth since the ground is covered by a savannah that is subject to bush fires during the dry season. This woodland or forest is generally made up of gregarious species of the Isoberlinia (sau), Monotes and Uapaca (somon) genera. The savannah woodland is made up of some trees but mainly of shrubs, which are sometimes very thick and sometimes sparse, forming a mosaic of rich savannah woodland, poor sparse savannah woodland (or tree savannah) and shrub savannah. Grass is generally thick. This whole zone was in fact once covered by closed dry forest with shrubby undergrowth and scattered patches of grass. In addition, there are wing-shaped extensions of closed southern forest or gallery forests along watercourses.
- In the south there is the rainforest zone in which two ecological and floristic types can be distinguished:
Evergreen rainforest, with abundant rainfall (over 1 600 mm) well spread over the year, and a constantly high relative atmospheric humidity. It occupies a coastal strip of varying width and extends westwards up the Cavally River to the northern edges of the closed forest;
,u>Moist semi-deciduous forest, thus called because some of the taller trees lose their leaves at the same time for a short while during the dry season. It occupies the whole central and northern part of the forested zone;
Lastly, the closed forests in the mountains of the Man region in the west are classified separately as they contain certain species endemic to the Fouta Djallon area;
- Between these two zones lies a "preforest" buffer zone, stretching from roughly latitude 8° N in the north to the northern edge of the closed moist semi-deciduous forest in the south. It includes islands of moist forest in the savannah (the Zuenoula-Tiebissou and Bondoukou regions) and also has a deep "V" (the Baoulé salient or V) sticking out to the south as far as latitude 6° S on a BouakéN'Douci axis. Experts are still not sure whether this "V", which is filled almost exclusively with savannah, is edaphic or human in origin.
The above map is an extract from the Global Forest Cover map produced as part of FRA 2000. Please refer to FRA Working Paper 19 for a background to the production of the map.
This first classification of Côte d'Ivoire's phytogeographic zones has been described particularly by Schnell (1957), Mangenot (1955) and Guillaumet (1967), and an overview was produced by ORSTOM in 1967 under Guillaumet and Adjanohoun's direction (1967), with a 1:500 000 scale map of the country's vegetation dividing the country into areas and sectors based on the predominant formations and their dynamics:
- The Guinean area:
- Climate resulting from latitude: rainforest sector (closed moist evergreen forest) and mesophile sector (closed moist semi-deciduous forest);
- Climate resulting from proximity to the sea and nature of the soil: coastal sector;
- Climate resulting from altitude: montane sector;
- The Sudanian area: This is the area of open forest and savannah woodland, plus some islands of closed dry forest.
The designations employed and the presentation of material in this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.
Map source: Global Forest Resources Assessment 2000, base map: ESRI