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Oban Biosphere Reserve, Nigeria

Oban Biosphere Reserve is located in the Cross River State in the south-eastern corner of Nigeria. The 557,682 ha biosphere reserve encompasses the Oban Forest Reserve, the Cross River National Park, and the Obudu Plateau.

Designation date: 2020


Regional network:  AfriMAB

Ecosystem-based network: Tropical Forest and Wetlands




    Surface : 557,682 ha

    • Core area(s): 195,771 ha
    • Buffer zone(s): 83,070 ha
    • Transition zone(s): 278, 841 ha 

    Location: 5o 37.3” N; 8o 35.5” E

    Administrative Authorities

    Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria
    P.M.B 5054

    Tel.: +2348035868634


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    Ecological Characteristics

    Oban is an important watershed with hills rising above 500 m and one peak reaching approximately 1,000 m.  The Oban Hills once formed part of one of the lowland rainforest refugia during the last glacial period and is an internationally recognized biodiversity hotspot and center of species richness and endemism particularly for primates, amphibians, butterflies, fish and small mammals.

    The biosphere reserve harbours a significant portion of Nigeria’s remaining tropical rainforest, with 1,568 plant species of which more than 80% are endemic, and it is crucial in protecting megafauna such as the critically endangered Cross River Gorilla, the Nigeria-Cameroon Chimpanzee, the forest elephant and many other rare and endangered species.  Oban is also one of the richest and most ornithologically diverse sites in the country.


    Socio-Economic Characteristics

    Approximately 28,000 inhabitants live within the biosphere reserve. They belong to three main tribal groups: Ejagham, Durop, and Dusanga-iyong iyong. The Ekuri Initiative, created with the Ekuri people, an indigenous forest-dependent community, aims to protect their identity, culture and knowledge of the local ecosystems. It covers conservation and sustainable forest management to address loss of biodiversity, the migration of species and community development.




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    Last updated: April 2021