Lamto Tropical Ecology Station - iEES Paris

The international ecological field station of Lamto of the Nangui Abrogoua University, Ivory Coast 

History of the station

The ecology station of Lamto was created in 1962 by Maxime Lamotte who was directing the laboratory of Zoology of the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris, and Jean-Luc Tournier, who was directing the French Institute of Black Afica in Abidjan. The name LamTo comes from the juxtaposition of the first letters of their names. Depending first from the French National Centre of Scientific Research (CNRS) and then attached to the University of Abidjan, Lamto has been since its foundation a very active centre of interdisciplinary research and teaching in tropical ecology and one of the key places for the development of ecology in both Ivory Coast and France. Lamto is now linked to the Centre of Research in Ecology (CRE) that depends itself from the Nangui Abrogoua University (Abidjan). Recently the station gas been directed by Souleymane Konaté, Kolo Yéo and, presently, by Maire-Thérèse N’Dri Kouamé.

Savane du rocher à Lamto durant la saison sèche

Jean-Luc Tournier has created, as soon as 1962, a station of geophysics located 500 m away from the station of ecology. This station has developed further and is presently hosting numerous devices aiming at the seismic monitoring and the study of atmosphere and climate.


Lamto station is located at 160 km North-West of Abidjan (6°13N, 5°02W), in the southern tip of the Baoulé V (i.e a zone where Guinean savanna penetrate southwards into the rain forest). Lamto is thus situated at the transition between forests and savannas. The station is inside a 2617 ha reserve managed by the Ivory Coast Office of Parcs and Reserves (OIPR) that is bordered by the Bandama river. The reserve is composed of a mosaic of different types of savanna (characterized by different tree densities from the grass savanna to the wooded savanna), gallery forests and dry plateau forests. The reserve is surrounded by an agricultural area (for example linked to the villages of Zougoussi in the North and Ahérémou in the East) composed of both subsistence crops (yams, plantain banana, cassava, corn…) and plantations (papaya, cocoa …).

Scientific studies

Lamto has accumulated more than 60 years of research, more than 1250 articles published by more than 500 scientists, mainly from Ivory Coast and France. This research has dealt both with all compartments of biodiversity (microorganisms, insects, social insects, plants, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals) and the dynamics and functioning of the savanna (tree demography, nitrogen cycle…). A synthesis book has been published on L amto savanna (Abbadie L., J. Gignoux, X. Le Roux, & M. Lepage (2006) Lamto. Structure, functioning, and dynamics of a savanna ecosystem. Springer). This makes Lamto one of the best-known savannas worldwide. The list of most Lamto articles can be found here:

Working in Lamto

Lamto is an international ecology station open to scientists and students from all countries and origins, whatever the subject of their studies and their scientific speciality. The field station proposes housing (rooms with and without air-conditioning) in four buildings (a new one and three that have been renovated). This allows housing up to 40 persons. A cook can feed all visitors in a large dining room. A conference room is also available. The station is well electrified but does not own a car, for the moment.

Travail de terrain à Lamto

The field station also proposes laboratory rooms simply equipped, where research can be conducted. Simple equipment is available, for example to prepare soil and biomass samples. Simple field equipment is also available. It is possible to implement at Lamto observational and sampling studies in the natural ecosystems of the reserve, agricultural experiments outside the reserve (with the agreement of farmers) and experiments at the station itself (mesocosm experiments, breeding …). It is possible to carry on in Lamto studies in all areas of ecology and evolutionary sciences: population and community ecology, ecosystem ecology (including soil and freshwater ecology), evolutionary ecology… The station is also more and more open to interdisciplinary studies, around the reserve, about the interactions between human populations and biodiversity at the interface between human and social sciences and ecological sciences.

Bâtiment neuf de la station de Lamto

To start working at Lamto, you must first have your research project broadly validated and then reserve your housing (and check the prices for this housing) by sending an email to:

The director of the station: KOUAME N’Dri Marie-Thérèse,
The assistant of the director of the station : DJESSOU Serge Armand,

The person responsible for the estate at the CRE: COULIBALY Raymond Claude,