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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Africa's Rain Forests: Retreat and Hold
Author:Fair, Denis
Periodical:Africa Insight
Geographic term:Subsaharan Africa
Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment
Development and Technology
Abstract:About two million hectares of Africa's rain forests are being cleared each year for agricultural and commercial forestry purposes, most seriously in West Africa where the rate of deforestation has reduced the tree cover to about ten percent of its original extent. Only in the mid-1980s, after years of almost uncontrolled exploitation, has the level of concern about the rain forests risen to the extent that governments are now beginning to give serious attention to the conservation of those that remain, to the replanting of those that have been degraded and to agroforestry as a promising alternative to shifting cultivation. This article describes current conservation strategies in Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Liberia and Nigeria. Whether these strategies are adequate both to halt the rate of deforestation and to achieve acceptable rates of reforestation will depend on the role attributed to agroforestry. This new science, the collective name for land-use systems involving trees combined with crops and/or animals, emphasizes the multipurpose nature of trees as sources of food, fodder, fuelwood and small timber, and as conservers of soil and improvers of soil fertility. Ref.