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Deforestation in Africa: Facts and Statistics

The vast majority of Africa`s moist and rainforest exist in West and Central part of the continent. According to Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), Africa lost the highest percentage of rainforests during the 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s.
In 1990, Africa had an estimated 528 million hectares of tropical forests (30 % of the world`s tropical forests).
Around 2000 Africa had some 193.000 sq. Miles (500.000 sq. km) of rainforest. According to the FAO estimations (1997), only 22.8 percent of West Africa`s moist forests remain.
In most populous countries, notably Nigeria, the main cause of deforestation is population growth & demographic pressure, while other countries (e.g. Cote d`Ivoire) are suffered deforestation caused by expansion of agriculture and commercial logging.
In the interior countries of Mali and Niger the important cause of deforestation are droughts and soil erosion (coastal areas).
In several Sub-Saharan countries the annual rate of deforestation significantly exceeded the global annual average.
According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Africa is suffering deforestation at the twice the world rate. Some authors noted thate deforestation has already wiped out roughly 85-90 % of original forests in West Africa.
In just 15 years (1990-2005) Nigeria has lost nearly 81 % of its old-growth forests
Deforestation is a significant transnational issue in the DRC (annual deforestation rate is 311,000 ha or 1,200 sq mi; 0.2 %). The main causes of deforestation are as follows:
1. development of road infrastructure,
2. transformation forest areas intro agricultural lands (slash and burn model),
3. the collection of fuelwood and charcoal,
3. illegal small scale and artisanal logging.
According to some sources in 1963 Kenya had forest cover of some 10 % and by 2006 only 1.7 %.
Desertification, droughts, land degradation and deforestation has currently affected more than 94 % of Madagascar`s productive areas.
The annual rate of deforestation in Nigeria is 3.5%, which is approximately 350,000-400,000 hectares per year. Between 2000 and 2005 Nigeria has the largest deforestation rates in the worlds, having lost 55,5 % of their primary forests.

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