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Africa’s deforestation

D 4 mars 2018     H 04:55     A     C 0 messages


Next time you bite into a chocolate bar, think of Africa. The continent produces nearly 70 percent of the world’s cocoa, a growing output that requires carving more than 325,000 acres of new farmland from forests every year .

As international markets have swelled and integrated, production of in-demand crops such as soy and oil palm has moved away from areas where land is scarce and where natural resource regulations are robust. Production has instead moved to tropical regions such as Southeast Asia and South America. Brazil and Indonesia alone accounted for more than 60 percent of global tropical deforestation from 2000 to 2005, largely due to agricultural expansion.

Sub-Saharan Africa, with its abundant cheap land and labor, would seem an obvious next step for multinational companies looking to expand farther. Since 2015, agricultural production in the region has grown at the fastest rate globally, and cropland is predicted to expand more than 10 percent by 2025.

Although deforestation rates in Africa remain well below those in South America and Southeast Asia, the region has lost an area of intact forest about the size of Iceland since 2000.
These African forests, contained primarily in the Congo Basin, represent almost 30 percent of the world’s total and are an important source of local income. In addition to regulating climate, safeguarding water quality and controlling disease, the forests feed and provide subsistence means to at least 100 million people living nearby. Forest products such as logs generate an average of 6 percent of sub-Saharan Africa’s gross domestic product — triple the world average.

Expansion of commodity crop production in sub-Saharan Africa has so far been driven primarily by small- and medium-scale local farmers who boost the regional economy and can expand with less disruption to forests. But big change is knocking at the door. In recent years, multinational companies have bought up a land area larger than Costa Rica in the heavily forested Congo Basin, mostly for crops such as oil palm and soy. As the multinationals move in, they are more likely to acquire land by clearing intact forest due to property conflicts resulting from the region’s land tenure complexities.

Source from http://socialistbanner.blogspot.fr

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