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Debate

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  • 1. African Deforestation: A Problem, Not a Crisis
    Eric French
    Jessica Pittman
    Courtney Bonney
  • 2. Crisis Defined:
    Grave Threat to Population
    Severely Limited Response Time
    Solutions Are Uncertain
  • 3. Argument
    Deforestation in Africa is a problem but not a crisis, because:
    Response time is not severely limited
    Other regions have addressed the problem without urgency
    Not a grave threat to a population
    Narrative suggesting such a threat uses flawed data
    Deforestation counteracts socioeconomic crises
    There are some problem areas but also some success stories
    Feasible solutions exist
    Some local conservation efforts have worked
    Soil fertility could be improved
    Kuznets could save the day
    Innovations could save the day
    Inadequate institutions are to blame
  • 4. RESPONSE TIME IS NOT STRICTLY LIMITED
  • 5. Similar deforestation experiences
    US has 1% of it’s original forest, not a crisis, a problem that we overcame with secondary growth forest.
    LatinAmerica is experiencing similar deforestation, yet NGO’s have focused attention on them and decreased deforestation rates.
  • 6. Forest Cover 8,000 Years Ago
  • 7. World Resources Institute: Forest Frontier Regions (1987)
    • Frontier forestsLarge intact forests with high levels of biodiversity; Old growth forests which are under threat to development.
    • 8. Low-threat potentially vulnerable frontier forests: Those forests not now considered under enough pressure to degrade ecosystems.
    • 9. Non-frontier forests: Secondary forests, plantations, degraded forest, and some old-growth forests. This category still includes a great deal of biodiversity but is open to human influence. Conservation is key to the maintenance of these forests.
    • 10. Original forest: Forest cover about 8,000 years ago, before human impact.
  • North & Central America
    • Original Forest: 12.7 million square km.
    • 11. Frontier forest in Central America makes up only 10% of original forest cover.
    • 12. In the lower 48 States, only 1% of original forest remains as forest frontier.
    • 13. 84% of North America's threatened frontier forests are under threat from logging.
  • South America
    • In South America forest originally covered more than 9.7 million square kilometers.
    • 14. 54% of South America's frontier forest is under moderate or high threat.
    • 15. The majority of countries with high levels of biodiversity are located in South America
  • Africa
    • Original Forest: 6.8 million square km.
    • 16. 8% (0.5 million square kilometers) of Africa's original forest remains as frontier forest.
    • 17. 77% of Africa's frontier forest are under moderate or high threat.
  • Today’s Africa
  • 18. Deforestation Rates Compared
  • 19. NOT A SEVERE THREAT TO POPULATION
  • 20. The Accepted Narrative
    “One tragic example of the loss of forests and then water is found in Ethiopia. The amount of its forested land has decreased from 40 to 1 percent in the last four decades. Currently the amount of rainfall has declined to a point where the country is rapidly becoming a wasteland”
    Senator Albert Gore
    Earth in the Balance (1992)
  • 21. Ethiopia’s Forest Deg Narrative
    Asserts a historical baseline for which no systematic data are available
    Assumes that degradation is cumulative and induced by human mismanagement
    Presents an apocalyptic forecast with a trajectory of complete deforestation, which will ultimately cause chronic drought
  • 22. Data Flaws
    Review of literature reveals
    base-line data was inaccurate.
    First colonial data: Late 1800’s
    Stebbings: 1930’s (Swift, 1997)
    Assumptions
    Cleaver & Schreiber admit
    Imperfect data
    Aggregate data obscure results
    Large tracts of forest still exist
  • 23. Socioeconomic Crises
    Malnutrition
    Poverty
    On balance, deforestation may help, not hurt, Africans’ chances at survival
  • 24. Excessive Generalization
    ¾ of the entire continent suffer same problems?
    Multiple examples of successful forestry initiatives.
    Botswana
    Niger
    South Africa
    Ghana
  • 25. Botswana
    National Conservation efforts
    6 forest reserves
    Eco-tourism
    Energy shift
  • 26. Niger
    Individual efforts make a difference.
    Newsweek claims Niger is the poorest country in many development studies.
    Yale & Columbia created an Environmental Performance Index in which Niger scored a 6 (of 100).
    90% of country’s population depends on 10% of its land…cause for change?
  • 27. South Africa
    American Forests, Spring 2003, Gaynor Lawson:
    S.Africa’s timber industry allows it to preserve native forests while extracting from plantations.
    360,000 trees planted every day, 90 million a year!
    Timber industry encourages small-development by providing grants, education.
    More than 75% of S.Africa’s forests managed according to FSC standards.
  • 28. Ghana
    Natural forest zone: 30% of country
    Large source of income
    Recognized as one of the most advanced tropical African countries in establishing forest policy, legislation, forest inventory, management planning.
    Developed a National Forest Standard and principles, criteria and indicators for judging the quality of forest management and usage.
  • 29. FEASIBLE SOLUTIONS EXIST
  • 30. Recall the Success Stories…
  • 31. Soil Amendments
    Africa’s low adoption rate of inorganic fertilizer use decreases agriculture productivity (yield/ha).
    Currently, the US experiences negative environmental effects from over fertilization
    The negative environmental effects from low fertilizer use are greater than the negative effects from high fertilizer use in Africa.
    Currently fertilizers are 2 to 4 times more expensive in Africa than in developed nations.
    US Aid in fertilizer would avert much of the so called “crisis.”
  • 32. Zimbabwe Soil Fertility Study
    Studies may incorrectly link soil nutrient depletion to deforestation
    Gully development and deforestation easily linked
    Nutrient depletion has numerous causes, more likely poor farming practices.
    Farmers did not know that the pH level was extremely low.
    Low pH will decrease availability of macronutrients and increase the availability of micronutrients to that of toxic levels.
    http://www.fao.org/docrep/008/ae938e/ae938e06.htm
  • 33. Africa’s Future Needs
    Mineral Fertilizer Market
    Particularly need Lime
    Technology which makes use of Human Capital
  • 34. Can it be done?
    http://www.unmillenniumproject.org/reports/country_proc4.htm
  • 35. Sesbaniasesban
    Maize flourishes in the rainy season and the sesbania tree grows in the dry season fixing nitrogen in the soil and providing fuelwood for the household.
    With one agroforestry technique both hunger and deforestation can be addressed. This is but one of the many appropriate technology solutions which we propose will alleviate current deforestation issues.
    The tailored nature of this technological advancement reinforces the benefits of dispelling the current degradation narrative for the empirical, local land use research.
    http://www.tropicalforages.info/key/Forages/Media/Html/Sesbania_sesban.htm
  • 36. Environmental Kuznet’s Curve
    Institutions and the Environmental Kuznets Curve for Deforestation:
    A Cross-country Analysis for Latin America, Africa and Asia
    MadhusudanBhattarai and Michael Hammig, Clemson University, South Carolina, USA
    Size of Study:31 Sub-Saharan African countries
    Time Period:1972-91
    Size of Forests: >1,000,000 hectares in 1990
    Africa and Latin America have an EKC for deforestation.
    In Africa the tipping point is US$ 1,300
    The mean income of the African countries studied was US$ 1,000
  • 37. Other Factors
    Illegal logging
    Only significant for Asia
    Positive effect
    Institutions and Increased Civil Liberties
    Significant for Africa and Latin America
    Negative effect
    External Debt
    Significant for all
    Positive effect
    Change in Cereal Yield (proxy for technical advancement)
    Significant for Africa
    Negative effect
    Rural Population Growth
    Significant for all
    Positive effect for Africa and Latin America
    May present a U-Shaped curve similar to EKC (Templeton and Scherr (1999)
  • 38. Solutions in Reference to EKC
    If degradation is more severe to be addressed by the EKC solutions exist
    Policies which address the significant factors flatten the curve.
    Institutions, Tech Change, and Rural Population Density factors have the greatest effect.
  • 39. New Tech Future: SFP
  • 40. Inadequate Institutions
    Weak states
    Decolonization
    Market institutions
  • 41. Websites
    World Resource Institute http://multimedia.wri.org/frontier_forest_maps/index.html
    Forest Watch
    http://www.globalforestwatch.org/english/interactive.maps/index.htm
    Soil Information
    ftp://ftp.fao.org/agl/agll/docs/wsr.pdf
    http://www.compete-bioafrica.net/current_land/current_land.html