Less than seven per cent of Africas surface is covered with tropical rain forest, and the majority of this is concentrated in the centre of the continent. The Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Cameroon and the Central African Republic all have substantial forest coverage of various types. However, West Africa is not without its share of this type of vegetation. Ghana has over 15,000 sq. km of rain forest, most of which is found along the coast, Nigeria has nearly 40,000 sq. km, Cote DIvoire has some 30,000 sq. km and Togo has around 1300 sq. km.
Africas rain forests are not as rich in species as those found in South America and Asia, but they still surpass every other region in terms of both the diversity and the density of the wildlife to which they are home. Much of Africas forest cover has been lost due to human activity, and this is examined along with other conservation issues in greater detail in another section.
We will be concerned with those tropical rain forests which lie on the meridian line, and consequently our attention will be focussed upon Ghana and Togo. Nevertheless, much of what is said in relation to these countries will also apply to forests found elsewhere on the continent.