GUINEA-BISSAU | Country

Tucked away in a remote corner of west Africa, Guinea-Bissau is a little know jewel of nature and traditional cultures.  It is home to some of the planet’s most threatened habitats, plants and animals, including vast coastal mangroves, dense tropical forests, unique coastal islands, whales, dolphins, chimpanzees forest elephants, and and massive flocks of birds, both full time residents and those migrating between Europe and Africa along the Atlantic flyway- to name but a few. It is also one of the poorest countries in Africa.

 

The people of Guinea-Bissau live by using nature.  Fisheries, forestry, agriculture etc. form the backbone of people’s livelihoods and the national economy.  Balancing the needs of people with protecting the natural foundations of their livelihoods is not easy.  Protected areas, co-managed government and communities- cover over 25% of the country.  However, finding the resources to meet the urgent needs for economic development and conservation is a constant challenge.

 

  

The Biodiversity of Guinea-Bissau

  Guinea-Bissau’s economy is heavily dependent on its extraordinarily rich and diverse but equally vulnerable biodiversity

  • Nearly 80% of the country’s population lives in the coastal zone and is dependent on marine and coastal biodiversity for income, material goods and food security.

  • Although threatened around the world, these key habitats and species are both environmentally and economically important both nationally and internationally.  

 

Protected Areas

  • Protected areas currently represent 26.4% of the national territory of Guinea-Bissau.

  • There are currently eight coastal, marine and terrestrial protected areas in Guinea-Bissau.

 

These "in situ" biodiversity conservation units play a crucial role maintaining ecological goods and services, and in promoting the sustainable socio-economic wellbeing of resident communities. Guinea-Bissau’s Protected Areas are home to people who still live in harmony with nature.

 

Some ecosystems of Guinea-Bissau are emblematic:

  • Mangroves cover 338,652 ha or 9.4% of the country, making Guinea-Bissau the world leader in the world in terms of the proportion of the area covered by the mangrove area and the second in terms of total area in Africa, after Nigeria.

  • The island of Poilão is the largest nesting site for the green turtle - Chelonia mydas - from West andCentral:

  • Africa, and is the third largest in the Atlantic.

  • Cufada Lagoons have been designated as Wetlands of International Importance by the Ramsar Convention.

  • Because of the interdependence of natural and cultural values, the Bijagós Archipelago has been internationally recognized as a Biosphere Reserve under UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Program.

 

The conservation of Guinea-Bissau's natural resources depends almost entirely on external funding and donors, which makes it vulnerable to changing international priorities. The BioGuinea Foundation contributes to addressing the vulnerability of national conservation efforts and the and sustainable development of local populations.