CEPF Guinean Forests of West Africa

Welcome to the website for the CEPF Guinean Forests of West Africa (GFWA) programme


CEPF provides grants for nongovernmental and private sector organizations to help protect biodiversity hotspots​, Earth’s most biologically rich yet threatened areas.

The Guinean Forests of West Africa Biodiversity Hotspot extends across the southern part of West Africa and into Central Africa north of the Congo Wilderness Area (Figure 1.1). Thehotspot covers 621,705 km2, and can be divided into two subregions. The first subregion, referred to as the ‘Upper Guinean Forests’, stretches from Guinea in the west, through Sierra Leone, Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo and, marginally, into Benin. The second subregion, the ‘Lower Guinean Forests’, covers much of southern Nigeria, extends into southwestern Cameroon, and also includes São Tomé and Príncipe and the offshore islands of Equatorial Guinea. The Guinean Forests are one of eight biodiversity hotspots in Africa and Madagascar.


Section of the Guinean forests along the Kenema Kailahun Road in Sierra Leone  ©Lindsay Stark







The Guinean Forests support impressive levels of biodiversity, having high levels of species richness and endemism. In terms of plants, approximately 9,000 species of vascular plant are believed to occur in the hotspot, including 1,800 endemic species. The hotspot also supports an exceptional diversity of other terrestrial species. There are 416 mammal species (representing nearly a quarter of the mammals native to continental Africa), 917 bird species, 107 reptile species and 269 amphibian species within the hotspot boundary (updated through analysis of Red List data). Of these species, 65 mammals, 48 birds, 20 reptiles and 118 amphibians are thought to be endemic to the hotspot. The hotspot is among the world’s top priorities for primate conservation, with five Critically Endangered and 21 Endangered species.



BirdLife International will act as the CEPF Regional Implementation Team (RIT) for the Guinean Forests of West Africa biodiversity hotspot. The RIT will raise awareness of CEPF; solicit grant applications and assist organizations to make applications; review applications; give small grants and jointly make decisions with CEPF on large grants; and monitor and evaluate progress with the investment strategy.

The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) is a joint initiative of l’Agence Française de Développement, Conservation International, the European Union, the Global Environment Facility, the Government of Japan, the MacArthur Foundation, and the World Bank. A fundamental goal is to ensure civil society is engaged in biodiversity conservation. More information on CEPF can be found at