Located in north-east of the country, at the joint boundary with Cameroon and the Republic of Congo, Minkébé is a complex of semi-evergreen lowland rainforest and mixed swamp-forest, unique in Gabon. Two main tributaries of the Ivindo river flow north through the reserve, the Sing (or Nsye) and the Nouna, and are bordered by extensive swamp-forest, with some monodominant stands of Gilbertiodendron dewevrei. Dry-land forest is dominated by species such as Monopetalanthus sp., Tetraberlinia sp., Gilbertiodendron pierreanum, Cylicodiscus gabunensis, Pentaclethra eetveldeana. Semi-evergreen trees include Terminalia superba, Triplochiton scleroxylon, and Pteleopsis hylodendron. Species typical of the swamp-forest include Sterculia subviolacea, Macaranga sp. and Gilbertiodendron dewevrei. Small patches of aquatic grasses grow in open areas along the riverbanks but Minkébé is, otherwise, entirely forested. The ridges between the river basins reach 900 m and may support a third distinct type of forest.Minkébé is the name of an ancient village and colonial post, built on one of the ridges, that was abandoned in the 1930s. Patches of old secondary growth mark its presence.
See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. The forest avifauna of the Minkébé area is one of the richest in Gabon and indeed Central Africa. Preliminary surveys, principally of the swamp-forests and adjacent dry forests, have recorded 226 species, of which 206 are forest residents. Batis minima is the only species of global conservation concern known to occur, but the presence of Picathartes oreas is virtually certain, as the species is known from the nearby Belinga area and geologically similar hills, providing suitable habitat, are known to occur in Minkébé. It is also likely that the restricted-range Hirundofuliginosa, often associated with Picathartesoreas for nest-sites, will probably also be found in the future. Some species, such as Bostrychia olivacea, Bostrychia rara, Canirallus oculeus, Cercococcyx olivinus, Cercococcyx mechowi, Scotopelia bouvieri, Smithornis sharpei, Campephaga oriolina, Zoothera princei, and Zootheracamaronensis, appear to be commoner or, at least, easier to observe, here than elsewhere.
Non-bird biodiversity: Large forest mammals such as Loxodonta africana, (EN) Gorilla gorilla (EN) and Pan troglodytes (EN) are common. Local people report the presence of the ungulate Tragelaphus euryceros (LR/nt).
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Minkébé was gazetted a Forest Reserve in 1998 as a result of proposals by IUCN and WWF while the approval of government to upgrade its status to a protected area was given in early 2000. WWF, in conjunction with the Ministère des Eaux et Forêts, began an integrated conservation and development project for the reserve in 1997. The local population is mostly composed of gold-panners and totals fewer than 1,500 individuals. The main threats include forest-logging, gold extraction, ivory poaching, and commercial hunting for the local bush-meat trade.
BirdLife International (2019) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Minkébé Forest Reserve. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 11/12/2019.