Top: A village in Kongbor, adjacent to the Gola National Park. The DayLight/Rudolph Gborkeh
By Varney Kamara
TUBMANBURG, Bomi County – Park managers in Gbarpolu and Lofa Counties have created a system to store information that will help them effectively manage the Gola National Park and the Foya Proposed Protected Area.
The Integrated Management Effectiveness Tool (IMET) would enable park managers to gather information across the two forests that relate to biodiversity, natural resources, and habitats. It will also assist rangers to track the level of involvement of the government and communities in the parks’ management.
“This will include assessment of weaknesses, strengths, challenges, and prospects,” said Nzigiyimpa Léonidas, an IMET trainer at the close of training for the wardens in Tubmanburg, Bomi County recently. “Not only that, it is going to put decision-makers in the position to make the right decisions as far as forest governance is concerned.”
“We expect this baseline training to enhance the capacity of managers for effective monitoring and evaluation of the different activities in the Gola National Park,” said Michael Tarie, program manager of the Society for the Conservation of Nature of Liberia (SCNL), which organized the IMET event.
IMET was introduced in 2002 and since recommended by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Liberia joined more than 20 countries across the world in November last year to have introduced the system in its quest to protect its forests. The country has made a commitment to conserve 30 percent of its forest, some 1.5 million hectares.
Since its introduction, members of the IMET coaching team have closely worked with conservation groups to manage the Gola Park and other protected areas across Liberia. The creation of the information baseline serves as a catalyst for continued donor support to conservation activities across the country, organizers of the training say.
Gola National Park and Foya Proposed Protected Area are biodiversity hotspots.
Situated in northwest Liberia, and created by law in September 2016, the 88,000-hectare forestland is home to endemic and endangered plant and animal species, including pygmy hippopotamus, African forest elephant and Diana monkeys. It provides a habitat for thousands of villagers, according to a UNESCO World Heritage report.
Located in northwestern Liberia, Foya Proposed Protected Area is the largest of the proposed protected areas and is believed to be several thousand hectares. It consists of wet green forests.