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.