In action for Mount Nimba's biodiversity!
The International Day for Biological Diversity is celebrated on 22 May. The study and management of African biodiversity is one of the Royal Museum for Central Africa’s main research goals. Museum scientist Didier Van den Spiegel (Non-insect invertebrates section) was asked to put his expertise to use in studying the biodiversity of Mount Nimba (Guinea), an area targeted by mining activities.
The Société des Mines de Fer de Guinée (SMFG) is considering the possibility of mining iron ore once again in Mount Nimba. This requires a preliminary study on the social and environmental impact of such a project.
RMCA scientist Didier Van den Spiegel’s expertise was solicited by OKAPI environnement conseil sprl in designing methodology for data collection and analysis that will be later used to characterise the fauna in the region targeted by the mining project.
Didier Van den Spiegel, Arnaud Henrard and Chistophe Allard went on several scientific missions in the Mount Nimba mining permit site. During these missions, various trapping techniques were used. One of these, canopy fogging, has never been used in Mount Nimba before. With this technique, the researchers were able to collect several hitherto-unknown invertebrate species, which shows just how incomplete our knowledge of this region's biodiversity is! The abandoned mining galleries were also investigated. These mines play host to very particular fauna, and a new spider species was discovered there: Ctenus nimba. This large spider is endemic to Mount Nimba and is the focus of special attention because its preservation - as is that of chimpanzees - may be a crucial factor in the Mount Nimba conservation process.
|Ctenus nimba: this new species, endemic to Mount Nimba, lives in abandoned mine galleries. Right: female with eggs. © RMCA|
|Several sphinx moth species are found there. © RMCA||The Goliath beetle can still be observed from time to time in Mount Nimba’s forests. © RMCA|| Praying mantis.|