WAYS OF TACKLING DEFORESTATION PROBLEMS

As environmentalists focus on the International Year of Forests, there has been much attention on destructive logging in Africa’s rain-forests, including in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Deforestation is a process where vegetation is cut down without any simultaneous replanting for economic or social reasons. Deforestation has negative implications on the environment in terms of wildlife and increased desertification among many other reasons. According to data taken over a five year period from 2000 to 2005, Nigeria has the largest desertification rates in the world with loss of 55.7% of…

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Processing Enterprises: a source of household income from forest products

For many farmers in the West African region, processing forest and farm tree products provides an essential source of off-farm income. In a farming systems study in Sierra Leone, Engel et al (1984) found that 19% of farmers considered off-farm enterprises their most important occupation in terms of labour input and benefits for the household. Their off-farm activities included palm oil processing, palm wine tapping, fuel-wood collection, hunting, and fishing. There are a large number of different processing activities (see especially Kenge 1987). The products are often of great local…

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The export of forest and tree resources from the humid zone region: Medicinal plants and animals

In comparison with other regions of the world (e.g. Asia and the Pacific) the export of non-timber forest products from the West African humid forest zone is small. Though NTFPs are exported, information on these markets is scanty. Plant medicines and wild animal products are commonly exported within the region. The Cameroonian Forest Service reports that medicinal plants were the most commonly recorded secondary forest products collected from Forestry Department lands. They are primarily collected for the export market, and the most common species are: Prunus africanum (729 tonnes exported…

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Cola Nuts Trade and Production

Cola nuts have been an important trade item in the West African region for many centuries. The cola nut is valued in many cultures as a sign of friendship and peace and is consumed (“broken”) at reunions, during meetings, ceremonies and festivals (see also Section 3.5). It is also the only stimulant allowed to Muslims. For this reason there is a heavy trade of cola from the humid southern regions to the northern arid parts of West Africa. There are several different species of cola which are traded. In southern…

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Fuel-Wood Production and Marketing

Throughout West Africa, fuelwood trade increasingly provides a source of cash income for those with access to urban markets. Generally, there is open market access, many buyers and sellers, few price interventions, and high transportation costs in relation to the fuelwood’s value. However, studies have only recently begun to address issues such as the income earning potential for rural households from fuelwood trade. Kamara (1986) conducted an interesting study on the production and marketing of fuelwood in the Bo and Makeni regions of Sierra Leone where fuelwood provides an important…

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