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Sierra Leone

Vegetation description

Mangrove forests are found in the coastal area, usually on tidal flats at the mouths of rivers. Stilted shrubs or trees are frequent. Along creeks, the trees are larger and the forest is dense, resulting in a "gallery forest" effect. Extensive areas of large trees (R. racemosa) up to 40 m found e.g. in the Sherbro River complex. The mud flats between creeks have a low mangrove cover, usually less dense. The main tree species are Rhizophora racemosa, R. mangle and R. harrisonii. The first is a pioneer species at the edge of the water. The other two are dominant upstream at the tidal limits, where Avicennia africana (syn A. nitida), Conocarpus erectus and Laguncularia racemosa can also be found. On the fringe of the mangroves, grasses occur together with ferns and halophytes.

The mangrove cover is mainly made up of low regrowth with few trees of any size. This is characteristic in the area around Freetown that has apparently been cleared for poles fuelwood in the past. Paddy rice cultivation is present in some areas.

FAO. 1979. Vegetation and land use in Sierra Leone: A reconnaissance survey. Technical Report No. 2SIL/73/002. Freetown.

National level mangrove area estimates







185 400

FAO. 1996. Review of Existing Sources of information for Forest Resource Assesment in Sierra Leone. By Laumans P. A. Field document. DP/SIL/92/006, Rome, 36 pp.


Remote sensing. Probably based on analysis of aerial photographs 1975-1976.


171 600

FAO. 1979. Land in Sierra Leone: A reconnaissance survey and evaluation for agriculture. Based on the work of Birchall, C.J., Birchall, C.J., Bleeker, P., Cusani-Visconti, C. FAO/LRSP Technical Report No. 1. SIL/73/002


Aerial photographs 1975-1976. Scale 1:70 000


283 761

FAO. 1979. Land resources survey, Sierra Leone. AG:DP/SIL/73/002 Field Document 1. Sierra Leone Freetown.


Cited in: Johnson, R. and R. Johnson. 1993. Mangroves of Sierra Leone. In: Diop, E.S. 1993. Conservation and sustainable utilization of mangrove forests in Latin America and Africa regions, Part II - Africa. pp: 7-9. . Mangrove Ecosystems Technical Reports vol.3 ITTO/ISME Project PD114/90. Okinawa, Japan, ISME. 262 pp.

The figure might include also freshwater swamps.


100 000

Saenger, P., Hegerl E.J. and J.D.S., Davie. 1983. Global status of mangrove ecosystems. Commission on Ecology Papers No.3. IUCN. Gland, Switzerland. 88 pp.


Secondary reference, no primary source provided.

The "Year" is the publication year.


156 500

FAO. 1996. Review of Existing Sources of information for Forest Resource Assesment in Sierra Leone. By Laumans Paul A. Field document. DP/SIL/92/006, Rome, 36 pp.


Remote sensing. No information on the scale.


250 000

Altenburg, W. 1987. Waterfowl in West African Coastland Wetlands: a summary of current knowledge of the occurence of waterfowl in wetlands from Guinea-Bissau to Cameroon and a bibliography of information sources. Zeist, The Netherlands: Stichting WIWO (Werkgroep International Wad-en Watervogelonderzoek).


Cited in: Fisher, P and Spalding, M.D. 1993. Protected areas with mangrove habitat. Draft Report World Conservation Centre, Cambridge, UK. 60pp.


286 000

FAO. 1991. Alleviation of the Fuelwood Supply Shortage in the Western Area - Sierra Leone. FO:DP/SIL/84/003 FO:DP/SIL/88/008 Terminal Report


The figure represents the extent of coastal woodland-mangrove and swamps. It may include freshwater swamps.


183 800

Saenger, P. and Bellan, M.F. 1995. The Mangrove vegetation of the Atlantic coast of Africa. Universitè de Toulouse Press, Toulouse 96 pp


Secondary reference, no primary source provided. "Year" is the publication year.


169 500

Spalding, M.D., Blasco, F. and Field, C.D., eds. 1997. World Mangrove Atlas. The International Society for Mangrove Ecosystems, Okinawa, Japan. 178 pp.


Map analysis. The map was undated.

Trends in mangrove area extent over time

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