ResilienSEA in Guinea
Guinea is bordered by Guinea-Bissau to the West, Senegal and Mali to the North, Ivory-Coast to the East, Liberia and Sierra Leone to the South. The territory can be divided into four natural regions (Lower or Maritime, Middle, High and Forestry Guinea), each having its own climate, hydrography and ecology. These variations of climate entail a rich biodiversity of habitats and living systems. Savannahs, rain forests, mangroves, mudflats are home to large variety of mammals, insects, fish, birds, reptiles and amphibians.
Guinea’s diversity of climates and of living systems provides it with a high potential in eco-tourism, agriculture and fishing, among other activities. The land use reflects a logic of extraction and exploitation of natural resources. For instance, the country’s GDP growth has been mainly driven by exports in minerals (gold, bauxite and diamonds). In addition, agriculture holds a significant place in human development as 76% of the population is employed in this sector. Coastal and marine zones are equally important. While the occupation of territory is diverse, we find the highest density in Maritime Guinea which is characterized by the predominance of littorals. Fishing is an important source of incomes and employs directly 800,000 people. Fish consumption is central to Guineans’ diet as every year, it amounts to 13 kg per capita.
The expansion of urban areas, mining activities, litter, logging, poaching, illegal fishing and the overexploitation of fish resources by foreign vessels caused Guinea’s coastal environment to be increasingly more vulnerable. For instance, the annual loss of mangrove coverage comes to 4,2%. Combined with the effects of climate change, one can expect the rapid decline of fish resources and other marine species, as well as the acceleration of coastal erosion. The conservation of seagrass meadows can play a significant role in preserving Guinea’s rich biodiversity and its coasts.
Seagrass conservation is key to the country’s environmental commitments. Similarly to its neighboring states, Guinea signed the Convention on Biological Diversity, the United Nations Convention on Climate Change, as well as the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar). At the national level, the country has develop a set of frameworks which can contribute to the conservation of seagrasses. It includes the Code on the Protection and Highlight of the Environment, the National Action Plan for the Environment and the Strategy and Action Plan on Biological Diversity. To date, four Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) exist in Guinea. Yet, the state of seagrass in Guinea is relatively unknown. Through the ResilienSEA project, the country is conducting further research in order to improve seagrass meadows protection.