The Gola Forest, in south-eastern Sierra Leone, is one of the remaining pieces of the Upper Guinea forests, which once stretched across western Africa.
Although the forests have been fragmented since before colonial times, they still have some amazing birds, plants and animals that are found nowhere on earth.
The Gola forest is a relatively intact area – covering more than 750 sq km, which would be lost to commercial timber cutting without our conservation project.
The Gola forest is important to local people, as it provides food and supports livelihoods. The forest’s rich biological diversity is an asset to Sierra Leone and the world.
The RSPB, CSSL and the Government are working closely together and with surrounding communities to identify the best ways to manage the forest for the benefit of local people and wildlife forever.
The project leader of the Gola Forest Conservation Concession Programme (GFCCP), David Zeller, told Awoko that the project had recruited 69 people into 30 new positions having received 1700 applications since the process started in April this year.
He said for the position of forest guards and security would be going on selection code which would be held in October and training to take place between November and December.
He said, “the positions are permanent and the project is for five years while the new staff are on six-month probation and if they survive they will be on contract for five years and after the five years they will remain with the Government wing (NaCEF) National Commission on Environment and Forestry”.
Mr Zeller further stated that the programme would be undertaking road shows in the first week of September.
He explained that the project had been contributing to community development since 2005 such as the rehabilitation of schools, construction of ‘court barays’, culverts, plantation and the establishment of farms in each chiefdom that are connected to the Gola forest family.