Kounounkan Massif and Plateau

Kamalayah Foret Classee

GUITIPA011
Kounounkan Massif and Plateau

Country: Guinea

Administrative region: Forecariah (Prefecture)

Central co-ordinates: 9.56639 N, 12.86917 W

Area: 39.55km²

Qualifying IPA Criteria

A(i)Site contains one or more globally threatened species, A(iii)Site contains one or more highly restricted endemic species that are potentially threatened, B(ii)Site contains an exceptional number of species of high conservation importance, 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 Kounounkan Massif is home to more than 30 threatened plant species including nine point- endemic species that are globally unique to Kounounkan. There are significant threats to the species and landscape from increased population pressure resulting, in areas being cleared for subsistence farming. The Kounounkan forest is the largest remaining intact lowland forest in Guinee Maritime. It is a significant habitat for many animal and bird species, in addition to its globally important plant diversity.

Site description

The Kounounkan Massif consists of the southernmost extension of the Fouta Djallon highland area. It comprises a series of several barely connected sandstone table mountains with sheer cliffs falling hundreds of metres, with few and difficult access routes to reach the summit plateaus. In colonial times, this part of Kounounkan was known as Mt Benna. The southernmost tip is uninhabited but elsewhere pastoralists occupy the seasonal summit grasslands. Further east, outside the TIPA, the talus slopes and lowlands are intensively cultivated for Riz de Pays (Oryza glaberrima), Cajanus, and Capsicum. To the west, the talus slopes are forested and descend intact into large areas of lowland evergreen forest, both pristine and secondary, due to intermittent collapse of the cliffs above. Much of the surface is boulder strewn, but despite this it is being cleared for smallholder agriculture.

Botanical significance

The Kounounkan Massif is the location for 31 globally threatened species. It is the sole global location for Caillella praerupticola (EN) (Melastomataceae), Mesanthemum bennae (EN) (Eriocaulaceae), Ternstroemia guineenis (EN) (Theaceae), a newly described species in 2019, and five other species. The sandstone plateau has the greatest concentration of high-altitude sandstone bowal endemic species in Guinea and is the most ecologically intact area. The species-rich submontane sandstone bowal grassland in the southern part is pristine, compared to the northern part. The sandstone cliffs below the plateau are also home to several endemic threatened species, some of which occur nowhere else. Kounounkan is only 65km inland from the coast and has the largest surviving lowland ‘maritime’ forest in Guinea. This contains the largest global populations of several threatened species, such as Diospyros feliciana (EN) (Ebenaceae) and Vepris felicis (CR) (Rutaceae). It also possibly contains the largest area of intact submontane forest in this zone (c. 10km²). This transition of lowland evergreen to submontane forest also occurs at Simandou and Ziama in Guinée Forestière, but those have different species compositions. In the faulted valleys on the plateau, good quality undisturbed submontane gallery forest can be found in the southern part, though this is not the case in the northern part where it is disturbed by cattle farmers. Further investigation is required in this area. Lowland forest, submontane forest, sandstone cliffs, and high-altitude sandstone bowal are all recognised threatened habitats in Guinea.

Habitat and geology

Ordovician quarzitic sandstone overlying metamorphic rock, this is the part of the outcrop that extends north to Pita. Thin soils on the plateau with some rock outcrops. On the lower slopes, the soils are deeper and humus rich. In areas of the south and west the soils can be thinner and rockier, as indicated by the presence of Guibourtia copallifera.

Conservation issues

The lower slopes of the forest are under threat from clearance for agriculture with large farms of hill rice mixed with other crops. This is largely for smallholder farming or village cooperatives. On the eastern and western flanks there has been some large-scale, village-led forest clearance, though this has currently been stopped by the government. However, due to the lack of protection of this area, it could commence again. The plateau sandstone bowal grasslands are threatened in the northern part from the increased burning regime brought about by cattle herders. It has already been seen that the increase in fire has pushed several threatened species to the brink of existence at the edge of the plateau. Kounounkan has high potential for village-based eco-tourism that would benefit local communities, giving an incentive for conservation. Kounounkan is a Classified Forest (designated in 1994), but not a formally Protected Area. Eco-guards are present in the area but are unable to patrol all of it. Designation as a National Park is strongly recommended.

Site assessor(s)

Charlotte Couch, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew

Martin Cheek, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew

Xander van der Burgt, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Pépé Haba, Guinée Biodiversité

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
Anisotes guineensis Lindau A(i) True True True False False Frequent
Apodiscus chevalieri Hutch. A(i) True True True False False Frequent
Cincinnobotrys felicis (A.Chev.) Jacq.-Fél. A(i) True True True False False Scarce
Diospyros feliciana Letouzey & F.White A(i) True True True False False Frequent
Dissotis leonensis Hutch. & Dalziel A(i) True True True False False Common
Fleurydora felicis A.Chev. A(i), A(iii) True True True False True Frequent
Genlisea barthlottii S.Porembski, Eb.Fisch. & Gemmel A(i) True True True False False Abundant
Heterotis pygmaea (A.Chev. & Jacq.-Fél.) Jacq.-Fél. A(i) True True True False False Scarce
Keetia susu Cheek A(i) False False False False False Scarce
Dilophotriche occidentalis Jacq.-Fél. A(i) False False False False False Frequent
Neolemonniera clitandrifolia A.Chev. A(i) True True True False False Frequent
Dichaetanthera echinulata Hook.f. A(i) True True True False False Common
Stylochaeton pilosus Bogner A(i) False False False False False Scarce
Schizachyrium radicosum Jacq.-Fél. A(i) True True True False False Scarce
Tessmannia baikieaoides Hutch. & Dalziel A(i) True True False False False Scarce
Dissotis splendens A.Chev. & Jacq.-Fél. A(i), A(iv) True True True False False Common
Cailliella praerupticola Jacq.-Fél. A(i) True True True False False Frequent
Droogmansia montana Jacq.-Fél. A(i) True True True False False Unknown
Gladiolus chevalieranus Marais A(i), A(iii) True True True False False Unknown
Gladiolus mariae Burgt A(i), A(iii) True True True True False Scarce
Impatiens bennae Jacq.-Fél. A(i) True True True True False Unknown
Kotschya uniflora (A.Chev.) Hepper A(i) True True True False False Frequent
Mesanthemum bennae Jacq.-Fél. A(i), A(iii) True True True True False Scarce
Rhytachne perfecta Jacq.-Fél. A(i) True True True True False Scarce
Ternstroemia guineensis Cheek A(i), A(iii) True True True True False Scarce
Vepris felicis Breteler A(i) True True True False False Unknown
Virectaria pepehabai Cheek A(i), A(iii) True True True True False Scarce
Cola lorougnonis Aké Assi A(i) True True True False False Scarce

Anisotes guineensis Lindau

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:
Frequent

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:
Frequent

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:
Scarce

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:
Frequent

Dissotis leonensis 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:
Common

Fleurydora felicis A.Chev.

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

Genlisea barthlottii S.Porembski, Eb.Fisch. & Gemmel

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:
Scarce

Keetia susu Cheek

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

Dilophotriche occidentalis Jacq.-Fél.

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

Neolemonniera clitandrifolia A.Chev.

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:
Frequent

Dichaetanthera echinulata Hook.f.

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:
Common

Stylochaeton pilosus Bogner

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

Schizachyrium radicosum 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:
Scarce

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:
False
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:
Scarce

Dissotis splendens A.Chev. & Jacq.-Fél.

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i), A(iv)
≥ 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:
Common

Cailliella praerupticola 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:
Frequent

Droogmansia montana 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:
Unknown

Gladiolus chevalieranus Marais

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i), A(iii)
≥ 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:
Unknown

Gladiolus mariae Burgt

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

Impatiens bennae 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:
True
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:
Unknown

Kotschya uniflora (A.Chev.) Hepper

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:
Frequent

Mesanthemum bennae Jacq.-Fél.

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

Rhytachne perfecta 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:
True
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:
Scarce

Ternstroemia guineensis Cheek

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

Vepris felicis Breteler

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:
Unknown

Virectaria pepehabai Cheek

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

Cola lorougnonis Aké Assi

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
High Altitude Sandstone Bowal Grasslands C(iii) False True True
Sandstone cliffs and walls C(iii) False True True
Guinean Highland Submontane Forest C(iii) False True True 10

West African Lowland Evergreen Forest

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

High Altitude Sandstone Bowal Grasslands

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

Sandstone cliffs and walls

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

Guinean Highland Submontane Forest

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

General site habitats

General site habitat Percent coverage Importance
Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland Forest No value Major
Grassland - Subtropical/Tropical High Altitude Grassland No value Major
Rocky Areas - Rocky Areas [e.g. inland cliffs, mountain peaks] No value Major

Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland Forest

Percent coverage:
No value
Importance:
Major

Grassland - Subtropical/Tropical High Altitude Grassland

Percent coverage:
No value
Importance:
Major

Rocky Areas - Rocky Areas [e.g. inland cliffs, mountain peaks]

Percent coverage:
No value
Importance:
Major

Land use types

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

Harvesting of wild resources

Percent coverage:
No value
Importance:
Minor

Threats

Threat Severity Timing
Agriculture & aquaculture - Annual & perennial non-timber crops - Shifting agriculture Medium Ongoing - increasing
Agriculture & aquaculture - Livestock farming & ranching - Nomadic grazing Medium Ongoing - increasing
Biological resource use - Gathering terrestrial plants Low Ongoing - stable
Biological resource use - Logging & wood harvesting Low Ongoing - stable

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

Severity:
Medium
Timing:
Ongoing - increasing

Agriculture & aquaculture - Livestock farming & ranching - Nomadic grazing

Severity:
Medium
Timing:
Ongoing - increasing

Biological resource use - Gathering terrestrial plants

Severity:
Low
Timing:
Ongoing - stable

Biological resource use - Logging & wood harvesting

Severity:
Low
Timing:
Ongoing - stable

Protected areas

Protected area name Protected area type Relationship with IPA Areal overlap
Kamalayah Classified Forest IPA encompasses protected/conservation area No value

Kamalayah

Protected area type:
Classified Forest
Relationship with IPA:
IPA encompasses protected/conservation area
Areal overlap:
No value

Conservation designation

Designation name Protected area Relationship with IPA Areal overlap
Kounounkan Important Bird Area IPA encompasses protected/conservation area No value

Kounounkan

Protected area:
Important Bird Area
Relationship with IPA:
IPA encompasses protected/conservation area
Areal overlap:
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

Xander van der Burgt, 2016-2018

Field Reports from Kounounkan prepared by RBG Kew for Herbier National de Guinee

Available online

BirdLife International, 2001

Important Bird Areas factsheet: Kounounkan

Available online

Recommended citation

Charlotte Couch, Martin Cheek, Xander van der Burgt, Pépé Haba (2021) Tropical Important Plant Areas Explorer: Kounounkan Massif and Plateau (Guinea). https://tipas.kew.org/site/kounounkan-massif-and-plateau/ (Accessed on 14/04/2021)