The Station Ecologique de Lamto is situated 170 km north-west of Abidjan on the eastern bank of the Bandama river, just downstream of the hydroelectric dam at Taabo. It is located at the zone of transition between forest and savanna woodland at the southernmost point of the ‘V Baoulé’, the V-shaped incursion of savanna woodland into the forest belt in central Côte d’Ivoire. Lamto is an ecological research station of the University of Abidjan and is run as a nature reserve. The main habitats are riparian gallery forests, often with dense undergrowth, of between 10 and several hundred metres width that fringe both the Bandama river and a number of its small affluents that traverse the reserve. These forest fingers permeate the savanna woodland which occupies the majority of the site. A conspicuous and common element of the savanna is the Borassus palm Borassus aethiopum which dominates the open shrubby woodland; Lamto is one of the few places in the country where mature Borassus palm-savanna still exists. Typical grasses include Loudetia simplex and Hyparrhenia spp. The woodland is often better-developed on and around the numerous rocky outcroppings that punctuate the savanna, while along and beside the watercourses, particularly the Bandama, there are numerous large boulders. Average annual rainfall is 1,200 mm.
See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. A number of species are qualified below and in Tables 2 and 3 with ‘?’ because they have been reported in the literature to occur in the Lamto area, but whether they have been recorded within the reserve is uncertain. The site is one of the few at which Scotopelia ussheri is known to occur. While Picathartes gymnocephalus regularly forages within the reserve, its only known breeding site lies just outside the reserve boundary. However, others sites may yet be discovered on rocks within its limits in the poorly explored, extremely densely tangled vegetation that fringes parts of the Bandama. In addition, at least four species of the Sudan–Guinea Savanna biome occur (see Table 3).
Non-bird biodiversity: Among mammals, a small herd of Syncerus caffer (LR/cd) and a few Kobus kob kob (LR/cd) still persist.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Although not currently legally designated as a protected area, plans are in hand for Lamto to be given formal protection, possibly as a Faunal and Botanical Reserve. The reserve is surrounded by a dense and increasing human population; there are periodic incursions by poachers. The forest around at least part of the Picathartes colony, just beyond the reserve boundary, has been cleared for a banana plantation; birds are still seen in the vicinity and it is not known whether the rocks on which they nested have been abandoned or whether there are as yet undiscovered nesting sites nearby.
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Lamto Ecological Research Station. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 31/01/2023.