The Liberian government designated a new national park in August that will protect a population of endangered western chimpanzees. The rainforests of the new Grebo-Krahn National Park in southeastern Liberia are home to some 300 western chimpanzees. The 371-square-mile park requires signatures from the president and the Minister of Foreign Affairs to become officially designated. The Wild Chimpanzee Foundation is working with local communities to galvanize their support, as the government does not have the resources to pay enough guards to adequately protect the park.
On September 23, the governments of Liberia and Norway announced that they had entered into a deal under which Liberia will become the first nation to completely halt deforestation in exchange for Norwegian development aid. Norway has agreed to pay $150 million in exchange for the halting of deforestation in Liberia by 2020. The deal was announced at the UN Climate Summit in New York. While Liberia’s forests are not as large as other countries’, its forests represent a significant part of the remaining rainforest in West Africa and are a global biodiversity hotspot.
A sharp rise in illegal logging threatens Liberia's forests, a new report by Global Witness warns. The report says that logging companies have been granted more than 60 percent of the country's forests in the past six years, and that private contracts that bypass existing regulations are common. Logging has led to heavy deforestation since timber was used to fund the nation's long civil war. The nation has some of the largest areas of rainforest in the region, but nearly a quarter has been signed to logging companies using secret permits.