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Eat chocolate, save a rainforest

Posted on May 29, 2018 at 12:10 AM Comments comments (2)

A great and inspirational post from Birdlife International introducing the work of the Gola Cocoa project in Sierra Leone. Read more at" target="_blank">

Gola video in DieWelle Global Ideas

Posted on March 29, 2017 at 10:00 AM Comments comments (0)

A short film of Gola's work produced by DieWelle Global Ideas is now live. Somewhat misleading in the documentary as the footage of the mining was taken in a completely different part of the country, far from Gola. Our main driver for deforestation is slash/burn agriculture. And a correction, though we aspire to Gola cocoa being certifiied, it is not yet the case. See the movie here

New paper: Gola delivers conservation for Pygmy Hippos

Posted on March 27, 2017 at 10:30 AM Comments comments (0)

A new peer reviewed article was published this month in Oryx on work done in Gola, entitled 'A mix of community-based conservation and protected forests is needed for the survival of the Endangered pygmy hippopotamus Choeropsis liberiensis' by Hillers A. et al.

80.4 % of pygmy hippo signs were recorded outside protected areas. They were mainly along larger streams and swampy areas close to, but rarely within large intact forests. Our study highlights the importance of the unprotected community land for this Endangered species while maintaining a robust network of protected areas. Especially in Sierra Leone, the expansion of the protected area network is unrealistic and we conclude that community-based conservation activities are important for the survival of the pygmy hippopotamus.


At the Gola Rainforest National Park in Sierra Leone, the recommendation of this study has already been put in practice since early 2016, with the establishment of our Community Youth Conservation Volunteer Programme focusing on pygmy hippos and the White-necked Picathartes. The pygmy hippo programme is funded by Basel Zoo, Switzerland, that has sponsored all our pygmy hippo work since 2010.

New paper: Gola delivers conservation for Picathartes

Posted on November 21, 2016 at 10:45 AM Comments comments (0)

A new peer reviewed article was just accepted in BirdLife Conservation International, Burgess et al 2016 "The importance of protected and unprotected areas for colony occupancy and colony size in White-necked Picathartes Picathartes gymnocephalus in and around Gola Rainforest National Park, Sierra Leone".


Gola is of global importance to White-necked Picathartes. Monitoring of colonies over 8 years show mean colony occupation was consistently high in protected areas, and lower in unprotected areas. Active colony size declined overall, but declines were only significant in unprotected forest; colonies located within protected areas were buffered from significant decline.


Non-protected areas can remain important for species of conservation concern, even though occupancy and colony activity was reduced compared to protected areas. And efforts to

minimise colony disturbance and ensure continued occupancy, such as reducing forest clearance around existing colonies, the 4-km wide ’leakage belt’ under the Gola REDD project, and the new village mentoring and educational will all help.


Honeyguide Wildlife Holiday purchases Gola Credits

Posted on August 25, 2016 at 10:55 AM Comments comments (0)

All our gratitude to Honeyguide Wildlife Holiday for their purchase of 250 Verified Carbon Units (VCUs) from Gola. A VCU is the unit by which we can do all our work, from the community development to conserving the unique biodiversity in the Gola Forest. Why not follow Honeyguide Wildlife Holiday and do the same? See the link at the bottom of this page.

Gola's Megafauna confirms the impact of our work

Posted on May 17, 2016 at 8:00 PM Comments comments (0)
Freshly retrieved from the (EC-funded) GolaMA project area in Liberia, we were absolutely delighted to witness this amazing sighting of a forest elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis), especially considering the recent coverage of the conservation community's fight against the ivory trade. This truely confirms the impact of our work and how our landscape approach benefits people and biodiversity.  

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Gola Rainforest Directors Appointed

Posted on May 5, 2016 at 10:10 AM Comments comments (0)

The Gola Rainforest National Park is managed by the Gola Rainforest Conservation LG (non-profit company limited by guarantee) registered in Sierra Leone.

Hon Minister of Agriculture Forestry and Food Security (MAFFS) Professor Monty Jones, Member of the Gola Rainforest Conservation Company Limited by Guarantee (CLG) met with fellow members, the Conservation Society of Sierra Leone and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (both partners of BirdLife International) to kick off the non-profit company. This resulted in the appointment of the Directors of the company who met for the very first time last week. The four Directors oversee the delivery of the Gola REDD Project against the VCS and CCBA standards, ensuring the direct benefits to local livelihoods and biodiversity. 

Directors of the Gola Rainforest Conservation LG, from Left to Right: Alameen Kanneh (Paramount Chief Representative), Sheku Kamara (CSSL), Kate Garnett (GoSL/National Protected Areas Authority), Nicolas Tubbs (RSPB) 



Minister Hosts inaugural Annual General Meeting of the Gola Rainforest Conservation LG

Posted on April 22, 2016 at 1:00 AM Comments comments (0)
As the historic Agreement reached at the United Nations' Conference on Climate Change (Paris, Dec 2015) is being signed today on Earth Day by over 100 countries, Sierra Leone is leading the way with the Gola REDD Project.

Hon Minister of Agriculture Forestry and Food Security (MAFFS) Professor Monty Jones, Member of the Gola Rainforest Conservation Company Limited by Guarantee (CLG) meets with fellow members, the Conservation Society of Sierra Leone and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (both partners of BirdLife International) to kick off the non-profit company which manages the Gola Rainforest National Park and will shortly be selling carbon credits through the Gola REDD Project.

The Members reaffirm their commitment to conserve the Gola Rainforest and support the sustainable development of local communities. The local communities are represented by a Paramount Chief who sits as one of four Directors to the non-profit company limited by guarantee.

This partnership is proud of what it’s achieving for the Gola forest and the neighbouring communities.

The Gola REDD project is the first project of its kind in Sierra Leone and West Africa. It was recently independently audited by a third party who concluded its outstanding benefits to biodiversity, livelihoods and climate change adaptation. It will trade carbon on the voluntary market to try to ensure Gola’s operational costs are covered to safeguard it for the generations to come.

Welcoming Visitors Again

Posted on January 22, 2016 at 6:35 AM Comments comments (0)

The Gola Rainforest National Park is now reopened to visitors!

Please be aware that a health screening will be carried out for all visitors and that all outbreak prevention measures will be rigorously followed. 

Gola is 1st REDD Project in West Africa, avoids emissions 1.19MT CO2

Posted on December 17, 2015 at 8:50 AM Comments comments (0)

As the world’s climate negotiators just reached an agreement on how to tackle climate change during the COP21 in Paris, it is timely to highlight the importance of forest ecosystems for carbon and wildlife. The BirdLife International Partnership, including the Conservation Society of Sierra Leone (CSSL) and the Royal Soiety for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) have been working with other NGOs to ensure that proposals to reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD+) are enshrined in the Paris Agreement. 

Embodying REDD+ in the agreement is especially important for poorer and smaller countries such as Sierra Leone where 122 Forest Edge Communities, the Government of Sierra Leone, CSSL and RSPB have just reached a historical milestone with the Gola REDD project successfully passing its independent audit against the two leading standards on the voluntary carbon market; demonstrating that we avoided the emissions of 1.19 million tonnes of CO2 over the period between August 2012 and December 2014. This is an enormous number and may seem somewhat abstract in our daily lives. But if we imagine a family car setting off from Sierra Leone this morning, and imagine that it is somehow able to circumnavigate the globe 76,000 times, then this gives you some idea of the amount of CO2 that the Gola project has prevented every year from being emitted through deforestation.


So, conserving tropical forests can play an enormous role in reducing CO2 emissions and mitigating climate change, but the challenge is how the grand commitments in meetings such as Paris translate into reality on the ground. This is where carbon markets can play a role. Through quantifying the reduced CO2 emissions from our work we are able to enter the baffling world of carbon trading, and enable companies and individuals to purchase carbon credits that quantify real savings in CO2 emissions and provide benefits to nature and people. We hope that this will be a mechanism to continue to pay for the globally important work in conserving the Gola Rainforest in years to come.


This is the very first project of its kind in West Africa, thereby demonstrating Sierra Leone’s leadership in climate change mitigation and adaptation, and showing how a strong civil society partnership like BirdLife can deliver truly ground-breaking work. We are truly the power of many.


If you would like to find out more about the Gola REDD project and if you are interested in purchasing any carbon credits, please email [email protected]