A forest is a highly complex, constantly changing environment made up of a variety of living things (wildlife, trees, shrubs, wildflowers, ferns, mosses, lichens, fungi and microscopic soil organisms) and non-living things (water, nutrients, rocks, sunlight and air). Trees are the biggest part of this complex community.
Africa’s forests are fast diminishing to the detriment of climate, biodiversity, and millions of people dependent on the forest resources for their well-being. But is the full conservation of Africa’s forests necessary to mitigate global climate change and ensure environmental stability in Africa? Yes only if we can ensure full conservation of African forests resources and it sustainable for the succeeding generation.
African forests store more carbon that those of Southeast Asia and are at greater risk than the tropical forests of both Asia and Latin America, according to a research conducted by The Forest Philanthropy Action Network (FPAN). In fact, forests in Africa are being cleared at a rate nearly three times the world average: the continent lost 3.7 million hectares of tropical forest each year between 2000 and 2005. Because carbon is released when trees are burned or felled, traditional slash and burn farming system & deforestation accounts for 10-15 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
The mining and energy extraction industries in Africa have, and will continue to have, a significant direct and indirect negative impact on Africa’s tropical forests.
Yet such are the revenues created by these activities that devising viable economic alternatives is highly unlikely. The best result obtainable for forests is damage limitation rather than cessation of extraction. This is a quite different context than the forestry sector, where much lower revenues indicate an opportunity for forest conservation to successfully compete, especially in the area of dormant (inactive) forest concessions. The challenge that donors and funders face in the extractive sector is to find ways of providing support for damage limitation initiatives that work with governments, international institutions and companies to achieve the lowest possible impact to Africa’s tropical forests from extraction.
This is not to understate the threat. The relatively small role that the extractive sector appears to play in total African greenhouse gas emissions should not blind us to the actual and potential scale of the impact. Global demand for Africa’s natural resources is steadily rising, and the carbon losses and forest ecosystem damage resulting from small and large-scale mining projects, though difficult to quantify accurately, are very significant. As foreign investors develop large-scale extraction projects, extensive areas of African tropical forest are degraded each year.
In addition, the consequent need for massive infrastructure development – for example, roads, railways and pipelines – leads to further immediate and long-term deforestation.
Population is increasing at a faster rate and therefore there is a high dependency on our renewable and non-renewable resources. What is Africa doing to mitigate deforestation?
Forest is free but not free forever!! Thank you!! God bless Africa!!
No Tree….. No Man!!
Text and video are submitted by Daniel Oppong (Ghana) – danoppong89(at)gmail.com
The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.
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