Gbélén Forest

Forêt de Gbélén

GUITIPA004
Gbélén Forest

Country: Guinea

Administrative region: Dubreka (Prefecture)

Central co-ordinates: 9.95056 N, 13.52194 W

Area: 14.5km²

Qualifying IPA Criteria

A(i)Site contains one or more globally threatened species, C(iii)Site contains nationally threatened or restricted habitat or vegetation types, AND/OR habitats that have severely declined in extent nationally

IPA assessment rationale

The Gbélén forest is a lowland evergreen forest of high biodiversity value comprising significant populations of threatened species such as Talbotiella cheekii EN and Diospyros felicis EN, and rare herbs that grow on moist rocks (e.g. Heterotis pygmaea (EN) and Cincinnobotrys felicis (EN)).

Site description

Gallery forest and lowland evergreen forest situated in the north of Dubréka Prefecture. The forest is surrounded by village communities that illegally enter the area for excessive timber cutting. Bush fires and cattle grazing were observed on the plateau. The southern part of the forest suffers from illegal wood cutting by the local populations of Bawa and Balayah (Khorira Sous Prefecture). However, most of the forest in the northern and western valleys is intact due to the flow of water and vertical rocks on both sides making access very difficult. Here there is a closed canopy with open understorey throughout. Gbélén means ‘valley’ in the local Susu language. This valley belongs to the old village of Bétayah that has now moved to the new village called Bawa, on the Dubréka-Tanènè road because of the easier access. The river Gbélén took its name from the valley it flows through.

Botanical significance

This is one of the most beautiful intact lowland evergreen forests that survives in the valleys of Dubréka Prefecture. Fed by several rivers which support the high biological diversity, notably populations of threatened species such as Talbotiella cheekii, Heterotis pygmaea, Diospyros feliciana, and Cincinnobotrys felicis. Forest trees of large circumference are still present and form a closed canopy over the area.

Habitat and geology

The valley and surrounding area consist of Ordovician quarzitic sandstone and oligomictic conglomerates. This is the same outcrop that continues towards Pita and the southern extent of the Fouta Djallon. The plateau has grasslands with forested valleys.

Conservation issues

A part of the forest has been illegally exploited by the local population since 2013. The excessive cutting of wood from the forest has resulted in the reduction of the quality and number of threatened species in the forest. The areas of grassland on the sandstone plateau above are subject to the effects of bushfires set for field clearance and growth of pasture for cattle. The forest found in the valleys in the north, east and west on both sides of the Gbélén valley are protected by the steep vertical rock faces.

Site assessor(s)

Pépé Haba, Guinée Biodiversité

Charlotte Couch, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew

Gbamon Konomou, Herbier National de Guinee

IPA criterion A qualifying species

Species Qualifying sub-criterion ≥ 1% of global population ≥ 5% of national population 1 of 5 best sites nationally Entire global population Socio-economically important Abundance at site
Talbotiella cheekii Burgt A(i) True True True False False Abundant
Heterotis pygmaea (A.Chev. & Jacq.-Fél.) Jacq.-Fél. A(i) True True True False False Abundant
Cincinnobotrys felicis (A.Chev.) Jacq.-Fél. A(i) True True True False False Abundant
Diospyros feliciana Letouzey & F.White A(i) True True True False False Abundant
Tessmannia baikieaoides Hutch. & Dalziel A(i) True True True False False Abundant
Baphia heudelotiana Baill. A(i) True True True False False Abundant
Apodiscus chevalieri Hutch. A(i) True True True False False Scarce

Talbotiella cheekii Burgt

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
True
≥ 5% of national population:
True
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
True
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:
Abundant

Heterotis pygmaea (A.Chev. & Jacq.-Fél.) Jacq.-Fél.

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
True
≥ 5% of national population:
True
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
True
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:
Abundant

Cincinnobotrys felicis (A.Chev.) Jacq.-Fél.

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
True
≥ 5% of national population:
True
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
True
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:
Abundant

Diospyros feliciana Letouzey & F.White

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
True
≥ 5% of national population:
True
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
True
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:
Abundant

Tessmannia baikieaoides Hutch. & Dalziel

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
True
≥ 5% of national population:
True
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
True
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:
Abundant

Baphia heudelotiana Baill.

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
True
≥ 5% of national population:
True
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
True
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:
Abundant

Apodiscus chevalieri Hutch.

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
True
≥ 5% of national population:
True
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
True
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:
Scarce

IPA criterion C qualifying habitats

Habitat Qualifying sub-criterion ≥ 5% of national resource ≥ 10% of national resource 1 of 5 best sites nationally Areal coverage at site
West African Lowland Evergreen Forest C(iii) False True True

West African Lowland Evergreen Forest

Qualifying sub-criterion:
C(iii)
≥ 5% of national resource:
False
≥ 10% of national resource:
True
Areal coverage at site:

General site habitats

General site habitat Percent coverage Importance
Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland Forest No value Minor

Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland Forest

Percent coverage:
No value
Importance:
Minor

Land use types

Land use type Percent coverage Importance
Harvesting of wild resources No value Major

Harvesting of wild resources

Percent coverage:
No value
Importance:
Major

Threats

Threat Severity Timing
Agriculture & aquaculture - Annual & perennial non-timber crops - Shifting agriculture Medium Ongoing - increasing
Biological resource use - Logging & wood harvesting - Intentional use: subsistence/small scale (species being assessed is the target) [harvest] High Ongoing - increasing
Agriculture & aquaculture - Livestock farming & ranching - Small-holder grazing, ranching or farming Medium Ongoing - stable

Agriculture & aquaculture - Annual & perennial non-timber crops - Shifting agriculture

Severity:
Medium
Timing:
Ongoing - increasing

Biological resource use - Logging & wood harvesting - Intentional use: subsistence/small scale (species being assessed is the target) [harvest]

Severity:
High
Timing:
Ongoing - increasing

Agriculture & aquaculture - Livestock farming & ranching - Small-holder grazing, ranching or farming

Severity:
Medium
Timing:
Ongoing - stable

Management type

Management type Description Year started Year finished
No management plan in place No value No value

No management plan in place

Year started:
No value
Year finished:
No value

Bibliography

Lisowski, S., 2009

Flore (Angiospermes) de la République de Guinée.

Couch, C; Magassouba, S; Rokni, S; Cheek, M., 2018

Threatened plants species of Guinea-Conakry: A preliminary checklist

Peerj Preprints

IUCN, 2019

IUCN Red List

Available online

Haba, P., Konomou, G., 2018

Rapport de terrain de la forêt de Gbélén a Dubreka.

Available online

Recommended citation

Pépé Haba, Charlotte Couch, Gbamon Konomou (2021) Tropical Important Plant Areas Explorer: Gbélén Forest (Guinea). https://tipas.kew.org/site/gbelen-forest/ (Accessed on 08/05/2021)