African Deforestation: A Problem, Not a Crisis<br />Eric French<br />Jessica Pittman <br />Courtney Bonney<br />
Crisis Defined:<br />Grave Threat to Population <br />Severely Limited Response Time<br />Solutions Are Uncertain <br />
Argument <br />Deforestation in Africa is a problem but not a crisis, because:<br />Response time is not severely limited <br />Other regions have addressed the problem without urgency <br />Not a grave threat to a population<br />Narrative suggesting such a threat uses flawed data<br />Deforestation counteracts socioeconomic crises<br />There are some problem areas but also some success stories<br />Feasible solutions exist<br />Some local conservation efforts have worked<br />Soil fertility could be improved<br />Kuznets could save the day<br />Innovations could save the day<br />Inadequate institutions are to blame<br />
Similar deforestation experiences<br />US has 1% of it’s original forest, not a crisis, a problem that we overcame with secondary growth forest.<br />LatinAmerica is experiencing similar deforestation, yet NGO’s have focused attention on them and decreased deforestation rates.<br />
World Resources Institute: Forest Frontier Regions (1987)<br /><ul><li>Frontier forestsLarge intact forests with high levels of biodiversity; Old growth forests which are under threat to development.
Low-threat potentially vulnerable frontier forests: Those forests not now considered under enough pressure to degrade ecosystems.
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.
Original forest: Forest cover about 8,000 years ago, before human impact. </li></li></ul><li>North & Central America<br /><ul><li>Original Forest: 12.7 million square km.
Frontier forest in Central America makes up only 10% of original forest cover.
In the lower 48 States, only 1% of original forest remains as forest frontier.
84% of North America's threatened frontier forests are under threat from logging. </li></li></ul><li>South America<br /><ul><li>In South America forest originally covered more than 9.7 million square kilometers.
54% of South America's frontier forest is under moderate or high threat.
The majority of countries with high levels of biodiversity are located in South America</li></li></ul><li>Africa<br /><ul><li>Original Forest: 6.8 million square km.
8% (0.5 million square kilometers) of Africa's original forest remains as frontier forest.
77% of Africa's frontier forest are under moderate or high threat. </li></li></ul><li>Today’s Africa<br />
The Accepted Narrative<br />“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”<br />Senator Albert Gore<br />Earth in the Balance (1992)<br />
Ethiopia’s Forest Deg Narrative<br />Asserts a historical baseline for which no systematic data are available<br />Assumes that degradation is cumulative and induced by human mismanagement<br />Presents an apocalyptic forecast with a trajectory of complete deforestation, which will ultimately cause chronic drought<br />
Data Flaws<br />Review of literature reveals <br />base-line data was inaccurate. <br />First colonial data: Late 1800’s<br />Stebbings: 1930’s (Swift, 1997)<br />Assumptions <br />Cleaver & Schreiber admit<br />Imperfect data<br />Aggregate data obscure results<br />Large tracts of forest still exist <br />
Socioeconomic Crises<br />Malnutrition<br />Poverty<br />On balance, deforestation may help, not hurt, Africans’ chances at survival<br />
Excessive Generalization<br />¾ of the entire continent suffer same problems?<br />Multiple examples of successful forestry initiatives.<br />Botswana<br />Niger<br />South Africa<br />Ghana<br />
Niger<br />Individual efforts make a difference.<br />Newsweek claims Niger is the poorest country in many development studies.<br />Yale & Columbia created an Environmental Performance Index in which Niger scored a 6 (of 100).<br />90% of country’s population depends on 10% of its land…cause for change?<br />
South Africa<br />American Forests, Spring 2003, Gaynor Lawson:<br />S.Africa’s timber industry allows it to preserve native forests while extracting from plantations.<br />360,000 trees planted every day, 90 million a year!<br />Timber industry encourages small-development by providing grants, education.<br />More than 75% of S.Africa’s forests managed according to FSC standards.<br />
Ghana<br />Natural forest zone: 30% of country<br />Large source of income<br />Recognized as one of the most advanced tropical African countries in establishing forest policy, legislation, forest inventory, management planning.<br />Developed a National Forest Standard and principles, criteria and indicators for judging the quality of forest management and usage. <br />
Soil Amendments<br />Africa’s low adoption rate of inorganic fertilizer use decreases agriculture productivity (yield/ha).<br />Currently, the US experiences negative environmental effects from over fertilization<br />The negative environmental effects from low fertilizer use are greater than the negative effects from high fertilizer use in Africa. <br />Currently fertilizers are 2 to 4 times more expensive in Africa than in developed nations.<br />US Aid in fertilizer would avert much of the so called “crisis.”<br />
Zimbabwe Soil Fertility Study<br />Studies may incorrectly link soil nutrient depletion to deforestation<br />Gully development and deforestation easily linked<br />Nutrient depletion has numerous causes, more likely poor farming practices.<br />Farmers did not know that the pH level was extremely low.<br />Low pH will decrease availability of macronutrients and increase the availability of micronutrients to that of toxic levels.<br />http://www.fao.org/docrep/008/ae938e/ae938e06.htm<br />
Africa’s Future Needs<br />Mineral Fertilizer Market<br />Particularly need Lime<br />Technology which makes use of Human Capital<br />
Can it be done?<br />http://www.unmillenniumproject.org/reports/country_proc4.htm<br />
Sesbaniasesban<br />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. <br />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. <br />The tailored nature of this technological advancement reinforces the benefits of dispelling the current degradation narrative for the empirical, local land use research. <br />http://www.tropicalforages.info/key/Forages/Media/Html/Sesbania_sesban.htm<br />
Environmental Kuznet’s Curve<br />Institutions and the Environmental Kuznets Curve for Deforestation: <br />A Cross-country Analysis for Latin America, Africa and Asia<br />MadhusudanBhattarai and Michael Hammig, Clemson University, South Carolina, USA<br />Size of Study:31 Sub-Saharan African countries <br />Time Period:1972-91<br />Size of Forests: >1,000,000 hectares in 1990<br />Africa and Latin America have an EKC for deforestation.<br />In Africa the tipping point is US$ 1,300<br />The mean income of the African countries studied was US$ 1,000<br />
Other Factors<br />Illegal logging<br />Only significant for Asia<br />Positive effect<br />Institutions and Increased Civil Liberties<br />Significant for Africa and Latin America<br />Negative effect<br />External Debt<br />Significant for all<br />Positive effect<br />Change in Cereal Yield (proxy for technical advancement)<br />Significant for Africa<br />Negative effect<br />Rural Population Growth<br />Significant for all<br />Positive effect for Africa and Latin America<br />May present a U-Shaped curve similar to EKC (Templeton and Scherr (1999)<br />
Solutions in Reference to EKC<br />If degradation is more severe to be addressed by the EKC solutions exist<br />Policies which address the significant factors flatten the curve.<br />Institutions, Tech Change, and Rural Population Density factors have the greatest effect.<br />