The tropical moist forests of Africa, like those in Asia and Latin America, are the richest ecosystems in the region. They are estimated to house more than half of Africa’s biota. The fauna of the region is by far the richest of the African continent, with the major block, the Guineo-Congolean region, holding some 84 per cent of African primate species (see chapter 4), 68 per cent of passerine birds (Crowe and Crowe, 1982) and 66 per cent of butterfly species (Carcasson, 1964). The forests are estimated to contain over 8000 plant species, a floristic diversity rivalled in Africa only by the Mediterranean-climate Cape floristic region, which may itself be botanically the richest region on earth (White, 1983). This richness is largely made up of species confined to tropical moist forest, and indeed to species endemic to these regions, although a notable part of the fauna consists of species that are also widespread outside the forests. The mammals include the elephant Loxodonta africana, buffalo Syncerus caffer and leopard Panthera pardus.


Rain Forest Lowland Forest Moist Forest Tropical Moist Forest Lowland Rain Forest 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Brenan, J. P. M. (1978) Some aspects of the phytogeography of tropical Africa. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 65: 437–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Carcasson, R. H. (1964) A preliminary survey of the zoogeography of African butterflies. East African Wildlife Journal 2: 122–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Collins, N. M. and Clifton, M. P. (1984) Threatened wildlife in the Taita Hills. Swara 7(5): 10–14.Google Scholar
  4. Collins, N. M. and Morris, M. G. (1985) Threatened Swallowtail Butterflies of the World. The IUCN Red Data Book. IUCN, Cambridge, UK and Gland, Switzerland, vii + 401 pp. + 8 pls.Google Scholar
  5. Collar, N. J. and Stuart, S. N. (1985) Threatened Birds of Africa and Related Islands. The ICBP/IUCN Red Data Book. ICBP, Cambridge, UK and IUCN, Cambridge and Gland, Switzerland.Google Scholar
  6. Collar, N. J. and Stuart, S. N. (1988) Key Forests for Threatened Birds in Africa. ICBP Monograph No. 3. ICBP, Cambridge, UK. 102 pp.Google Scholar
  7. Crowe, T. M. and Crowe, A. A. (1982) Patterns of distribution, diversity and endemism in Afrotropical birds. Journal of Zoology, London 198: 417–42.Google Scholar
  8. Frost, D. R. (ed.) (1985) Amphibian Species of the World: a taxonomic and geographical reference. Allen Press Inc. and The Association of Systematics Collections, Lawrence, Kansas, USA.Google Scholar
  9. Gartshore, M. E. (1986) Status of the montane herpetofauna of the Cameroon highlands. In: Stuart, S. N. (ed.) Conservation of Cameroon Montane Forests. ICBP, Cambridge, UK. 204–240.Google Scholar
  10. Guillaumet, J. L. (1967) Recherches sur la Végétation et la Flore de la Région du Bas-Cavally (Côte d’Ivoire). Mémoires ORSTOM No. 20, Paris, France.Google Scholar
  11. Hamilton, A. C. (1981) The Quaternary history of African forests: its relevance to conservation. African Journal of Ecology 19: 1–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Harcourt, C. and Thornback, J. (1990) Lemurs of Madagascar and the Comoros. The IUCN Red Data Book. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.Google Scholar
  13. Jenkins, M. D. (1987) Madagascar: An Environmental Profile. IUCN/UNEP/WWF, Cambridge, UK.Google Scholar
  14. Jensen, F. P. and Stuart, S. N. (1986) The origin and evolution of the Cameroon montane forest avifauna. In: Stuart, S. N. (ed.) Conservation of Cameroon Montane Forests. ICBP, Cambridge, UK. 28–37.Google Scholar
  15. Lee, P. C, Thornback, L. J. and Bennett, E. L. (1988) Threatened Primates of Africa. The IUCN Red Data Book. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.Google Scholar
  16. Polhill, R. M. (1968) Tanzania. In: Hedberg, I. and Hedberg, O. (eds) Conservation of Vegetation in Africa South of the Sahara. Acta Phytogeographica Suecica 54.Google Scholar
  17. Rabinowitz, P. D. , Cotlin, M. F. and Falvey, D. (1983) The separation of Madagascar and Africa. Science 220: 67–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Schiotz, A. (1967) The treefrogs (Rhacophoridae) of West Africa. Spolia Zoologica Musei Hauniensis 25: 1–346.Google Scholar
  19. Wells, S. M., Pyle, R. M. and Collins, N. M. (1983) The IUCN Invertebrate Red Data Book. IUCN, Cambridge, UK and Gland, Switzerland.Google Scholar
  20. White, F. (1983) The Vegetation of Africa: a descriptive memoir to accompany the Unesco/AETFAT/UN SO vegetation map of Africa. Unesco, Paris, France. 356 pp. + 4 maps.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© IUCN 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Jenkins
    • 1
  1. 1.CambridgeUK

Personalised recommendations