1.1 Geography, climate, soil

The Republic of Liberia, which covers an area of 38 000 square miles (98,400 squ. km,), is situated on the west coast of Africa. The country is part of the tropical rain forest of West Africa, but large parts have lost their original forest due to slash and burn agriculture and are now covered with secondary forest. Only in the north west does one find small areas of savannah and park forest. Most of the country is rolling with hills varying from 400 600 feet (125-185 metres) in height near the coast to over 1000 feet (300 metres) along the northern boundary.

The climate is warm and humid. Near the coast, rainfall is about 150-180 inches (3,800 4,600 millimetres) per year and decreases to about 70 inches (1,800 millimetres) in the interior. Most of the rainfall occurs between April and November.

As is usually the case in humid tropics, laterization has been the predominant soil forming process. The soils are adequate for the cultivation of permanent crops, but less suitable for arable crops because of the rapid soil degradation and high risk of erosion.

The consequence for agricultural development is that the natural conditions favour permanent crops like tree crops, while arable crops and pastures require special and expensive efforts to maintain soil fertility.