Lama Forest

The Lama forest is rich in plant and animal species. Specially, the forest hosts the endemic primates called “Monkey with the red belly”. Soil in the Lama Forest is mostly vertisol and rich in swelling clays. During the rains, part of the forest is usually flooded. However, after the independence of the Benin Republic, farmers of the Holli tribe came from the East where fertile lands were getting scarce because of strong population growth. These farmers invaded Lama Forest to cultivate the land. Thirty years after their arrival, about 15,000 ha of forest were devastated for agriculture purposes. Because of the damage to the environment, Beninese authorities in collaboration with the German government cooperated to set up a program called the Lama Forest Project in order to restore the ecosystem. This project aimed to protect 2,300 ha of forest land not yet cultivated by the farmers, reforest the surrounding area with exotic and local vegetation, to provide wood to a neighbouring sawmill at Saclo, and to pull and resettle the local population out of the forest into zones where there will be less damage to the ecosystem. Since 1986, 200 families have been resettled on 3.2-9.6 ha farmlands in Agadjaligbo and Zalimey. The main crops grown by farmers in the area surrounding the forest are corn and beans.