The nation lacks regulatory agencies to supervise the preservation of the environment. As the 1980s began, Liberia was one of the last West African countries with significant primary forest reserves, but recent estimates suggest that some 42,000 ha (104,000 acres) of primary forest are converted annually to degraded forest or transformed into bushland by shifting cultivation. Commercial logging, firewood cutting, and a government land-clearing program also threaten primary forestland. Between 1983 and 1993, Liberia lost 13.2% of its forest and woodland area. Forests currently account for less than 40% of Liberia's land. By the mid-1980s, the country had lost over 70% of its mangrove swamps. Hunting and loss of habitat have decimated wildlife along the coastal plain, and there are no longer any large herds of big game in the interior.
The water supply is usually limited to open sources such as streams, swamps, and shallow, uncovered wells; the result, especially during the rainy season, is that insects and parasites thrive, creating a major health hazard. Safe drinking water is available to 79% of Liberia's urban dwellers and 13% of its rural population. Liberia cities produce about 2 million tons of solid waste per year. The Mano and St. John rivers are becoming increasingly polluted from the dumping of iron ore tailings, and the coastal waters from oil residue and the dumping of untreated sewage and waste water.
Eleven of the nation's mammal species and 13 of its bird species are endangered. One of its plant species is threatened with extinction. The Jentink's duiker and Liberian mongoose are endangered species in Liberia.