Terrain shapes and bedrock
COUNTRYAAH, the topography of Liberia is very varied. Within a 25–35
km wide, sandy coastal plain with marshland, enclosed
lagoons and rocky headlands, a roughly 30 km wide hill area
spreads, partly with fairly high slopes towards the coastal
plain. Thereafter, a highland, 450–600 m above sea level,
with deep downsides. At the far end of the coast is a
mountainous region, where the Nimba Mountains are at their
peak and reach over 1,300 m above sea level.
The bedrock in Liberia is part of an underground shield
consisting of granite, gneiss and crystalline slates. Along
the coast there is a smaller section of sandstone and
intrusive rocks, e.g. a strip of diabases. The soil is
mostly of leached pod oil soil type. A large number of
rivers flow perpendicular to the coast, e.g. Mano with the
tributary of Moro (border with Sierra Leone), Lofa, Saint
Paul, Saint John, Cess (Cestos) and Cavally (which forms
part of the border with the Ivory Coast).
Liberia has tropical rainforest climate with monsoon
character. The rainy season falls during May – October and
dry season prevails during November – April. It is the humid
southwest monsoon that brings in rainfall over the country.
Slightly more than 5,000 mm per year falls on the coast, but
precipitation gradually decreases inland to about 1,800 mm.
The annual average temperature varies regionally between 18
and 29 °C. It is the coolest during the high season of the
high season. A dry and dusty desert wind, the Harmattan,
blows in from the Sahara in December.
Older rainforests are now estimated to cover only about
35% of the country's area and are spread mainly in the
eastern and western parts. Despite harvesting, Liberia is
the country in West Africa that has the most preserved
rainforest. The rainforest is mainly evergreen and consists
either of mixed forest with, among other things.
Lophiʹra alaʹta and Heritieʹra uʹtilis or of
forest of any predominant species; such dominants may e.g.
be species in the genus Monopetalaʹnthus,
Cynomeʹtra, Gilbertiodeʹndron or Parinaʹri.
In some occasionally flooded river valleys, Mitraʹgyna
ciliaʹta often dominates, while raffia
palms and Voacaʹngaare typical trees in the
more permanently flooded areas. In addition, along the river
beaches, a special flora grows with, among other things.
In the northwest you will find outposts of savannah
forests, which benefit from recurring fires but are subject
to extensive soil erosion. Along the estuaries are protected
mangrove forests with the genera Rhizoʹphora and
The shrinking rainforest area has also reduced animal
populations. Still, however, chimpanzee, red guereza (Procoʹlobus
baʹdius), western black and white guereza (Coʹlobus
polyʹkomos), dwarf hippopotamus, elephant, African
buffalo (subspecies red buffalo), forest pigs, leopard,
bongo and several species of diving antelope.
590 species of birds have been observed in the country.
Among these are kingfishers, rhinoceros, pigeons, turacos
and sunbirds. All three species of crocodiles in Africa, ie.
Nile crocodile, dwarf crocodile and African smalnoskrokodil
(Crocody'lus cataphra'ctus), are in the country.
Among the insects are many species of termites and ants,
among others. hiking ants, as well as beautiful knight
butterflies, which often gather at salty moisture spots on
The country has a national park, Sapo in the south-east,
with lowland rainforest and swamps with rich plant and
animal life. The park has been actively launched as a model
for environmental conservation in the rest of the country.
In addition, three additional areas have been proposed to
become national parks: Cape Mount, Wologizi and Wonegizi.