The Omo Biosphere Reserve is located in Ijebu, Southern Nigeria, roughly 135 km north-east of Lagos. Its name comes from the River Omo that traverses its territory. Elevation ranges from 15 m to 150 m above sea level, creating the perfect conditions for the mixed moist forest and semi-evergreen rainforest found in the biosphere reserve.

By diversifying local economies in and around biosphere reserves, the Green Economy Biosphere Reserves project (GEBR) contributes to the conservation of biodiversity, poverty reduction and sustainable development. In the Omo Biosphere Reserve – with the support of KOICA – the GEBR project has been implemented to enhance the socio-economic well-being of local communities, and encourage learning and knowledge building on sustainable development practice.

In the podcast, Sunday Onweh, grascutter (Thryonomys swinderianus) and Gbadebo Oluwatoyin (mushroom farmer) explain how the GEBR project has beneted them, while Clifford Omonu, the Omo Biosphere Reserve Manager, presents other new initiatives.

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Podcast Omo Nigeria (English)
In the podcast farmers from the Omo Biosphere Reserve explain how the GEBR project has beneted them.
One of the 1st biospheres reserves

Designated in 1977, the Omo Biosphere Reserve was the first biosphere reserve in Nigeria and one of the first in Africa.


people live in the biosphere reserve’s 11 villages, most of whom belong to the Ijebu tribe. Their main livelihood comes from the plantation and exploitation of indigenous and exotic tree species as well as agriculture and fishing.

Butterfly, butterfly

The Omo Biosphere Reserve is the richest area in Africa for butteries, many species of which are endemic. One species was even named after the forest: the Bebearia omo (Omo Forester), when it was discovered in the Omo forest reserve.


Around 100 elephants in Omo

Elephants play a crucial role in the biosphere reserve; they help to disperse seeds and create spaces for other plant species to grow. Nevertheless, due to illegal hunting and habitat loss, elephant numbers in Nigeria have declined. There are around 100 African forest elephants (Loxodonta africana) left in Omo.


Green economy

The Green Economy in Biosphere Reserves (GEBR) project was implemented in the biosphere reserve to improve revenues based on sustainable development practices, such as snail farming. The project was so successful that its practices are now being replicated in countries in the Lake Chad Basin.