Terrain shapes and bedrock
According to 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).
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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. pandanaceae.
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 Aviceʹnnia.
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 ground.
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.