Restoring forests to save the Bossou Chimpanzees

University of Montana masters students, Destina Samani and Sophie DeMartine, discuss the development of the native tree seedlings destined to reforest the Bossou-Nimba corridor, with staff from IREB and AUDER.

Tackling a major threat to this unique population of great apes

Situated in the Lola Prefecture, the Bossou Forest Reserve forms part of the Nimba Mountain World Heritage site. It is surrounded by small hills (70-150 m high) that are covered in primary and secondary forests. Bossou and the surrounding communities provide a rare example of a site where wild chimpanzees and local people have been living side by side in relative harmony for many generations, sharing resources from the same forest. The Bossou Chimpanzees are well known for their incredible use of tools, such as a stone hammer and anvil to crack open palm nuts. However, due to habitat fragmentation, the Bossou Chimpanzee population has been functionally isolated from neighbouring populations in the Nimba Mountain range for several decades and are now at significant risk of going locally extinct.

Mr. Emmanuel Gbato GUEMY, community bushfire brigade commander, and team, clear a fire break around the corridor.

In an effort to reverse this decline, USAID and the U.S. Forest Service are working closely with the Institut de Recherche Environnementale de Bossou (IREB), Acteurs pour le Dévéloppement Rurale (AUDER) and surrounding communities, to collaboratively restore a forested corridor to allow chimpanzees to once again migrate and interbreed between the Bossou Hills and the Nimba Mountains.

 

With support from USAID and USFS, University of Montana masters students, Destina Samani and Sophie DeMartine, work with the N’yon community to map out the communities lands and valuable resources as part of a participatory mapping process, which will feed into the development of an integrated management plan for the Bossou-Nimba corridor.
With support from USAID and USFS, University of Montana masters students, Destina Samani and Sophie DeMartine, work with the N’yon community to map out the communities lands and valuable resources as part of a participatory mapping process, which will feed into the development of an integrated manag

Activities include growing and planting native trees within the corridor, building local capacity to manage and fight wildfires, developing and implementing an inclusive management plan for the corridor, and engaging surrounding stakeholders to sustainably manage these common resources.

N’yon community members, AUDER and IREB staff, and Sophie DeMartine, present the results of mapping the communities’ socio-ecological systems to solicit a greater understanding of the links and interactions between natural resources and anthropogenic influences. This process will lead to a more incl