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Sierra Leone Geography
Location:
Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Guinea and Liberia
Geographic coordinates:
8 30 N, 11 30 W
Map references:
africa
Area:
total: 71,740 sq km
land: 71,620 sq km
water: 120 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than South Carolina
Land boundaries:
total: 958 km
border countries: Guinea 652 km, Liberia 306 km
Coastline:
402 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate:
tropical; hot, humid; summer rainy season (May to December); winter dry season (December to April)
Terrain:
coastal belt of mangrove swamps, wooded hill country, upland plateau, mountains in east
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Loma Mansa (Bintimani) 1,948 m
Natural resources:
diamonds, titanium ore, bauxite, iron ore, gold, chromite
Land use:
arable land: 6.98%
permanent crops: 0.89%
other: 92.13% (2001)
Irrigated land:
290 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
dry, sand-laden harmattan winds blow from the Sahara (December to February); sandstorms, dust storms
Environment - current issues:
rapid population growth pressuring the environment; overharvesting of timber, expansion of cattle grazing, and slash-and-burn agriculture have resulted in deforestation and soil exhaustion; civil war depleting natural resources; overfishing
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification
Geography - note:
rainfall along the coast can reach 495 cm (195 inches) a year, making it one of the wettest places along coastal, western Africa
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