a1 Conservation International, Liberia.
a2 Centre for Applied Biodiversity Science, Conservation International, 2011 Crystal Drive, #500, Alexandria, Virginia 22202, USA.
We report estimates of the area and rate of loss and fragmentation of Liberian forests from 1986 to 2000. These estimates are based on comprehensive mapping using Landsat satellite imagery, which has a resolution of 28.5 m. We estimate a total forest cover of 4.65 million ha in 1986 and 4.33 million ha in 2000. Most of Liberia's remaining forest is in two large regions. These forests are very important biologically because they are the largest remaining forest areas in West Africa. The average deforestation rate was low at 0.2% per year during 1986–2000. Although the fragmentation of Liberia's forests is also relatively low, most of the remaining forest is readily accessible as it is within a few km of existing roads. This ease of accessibility suggests that the present low deforestation rate could increase if conservation planning is not effectively implemented.
(Received September 12 2006)
(Reviewed November 30 2006)
(Accepted April 30 2007)