The Massif du Ziama Biosphere Reserve forms part of the Guinea Highlands in the south-east of the country, situated 40 km south-east of the town of Macenta and 100 km north-west of Nzérékoré. Part of the western boundary is contiguous with the Wonegizi mountains in Liberia (IBA LR002). Much of the terrain is extremely rugged. The whole area was forested originally, but primary forest now remains only in the remote upland parts of the south-west, next to the Liberian border. Most of the remainder, including the valleys, is now secondary forest, dominated by Parinari and Erythrophleum spp. There are also areas of swamp and of wooded savanna on lateritic outcrops of the high plateaux. The core zone of the reserve covers 60,000 ha, outside of which is a buffer zone. Annual rainfall is in the range 1,700–2,000 mm.
See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. The reserve has an extremely rich avifauna with some 287 bird species recorded. In addition to those listed below, there are reports that Agelastes meleagrides may occur or, at least, that it used to do so—it is known to local hunters. There is also one unconfirmed sighting of both Lamprotornis cupreocauda and of Malimbus ballmanni, although the presence of the latter seems improbable from what is known of its distribution in Liberia.
Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals which occur, or which used to do so, include Loxodonta africana (EN), Cercopithecus diana (VU), Procolobus badius (LR/nt), Procolobus verus (LR/nt), Colobus polykomos (LR/nt), Cercocebus atys (LR/nt), Pan troglodytes (EN), Papio papio (LR/nt), Cephalophus dorsalis (LR/nt), Cephalophus jentinck (VU), Cephalophus niger (LR/nt), Cephalophus sylvicultor (LR/nt), Tragelaphus euryceros (LR/nt), Hyemoschus aquaticus (DD), Neotragus pygmaeus (LR/nt), Hexaprotodon liberiensis (VU) and Hylochoerus meinertzhageni (VU).
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The area was declared a Biosphere Reserve in 1980. A population of 29,000 live in 23 villages in and on the margins of the reserve and in the town of Sérédou, on its eastern edge. The site is administered locally by the Centre Forestier de Sérédou. The reserve is divided into two main management zones, the protection zone (60,000 ha) and the production zone. Timber extraction is permitted in the latter where there is a forestry concession of 30,000 ha, containing a forestry station and chipboard factory. There is also a quinine plantation, processing station and an 8 ha palm grove within the reserve boundaries. Although there is a management plan, it is not known to what extent it is being followed in the exploitation of the production zone, nor whether or how much illegal exploitation is taking place. Encroachment by shifting agriculturalists and by refugees is also a problem.
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Massif du Ziama. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 16/01/2022.