AFRICA: AFF is preparing an academic manual on forest protection

The carbon market, the weather, the scientific debate on climate change, so many topics covered in the future academic training guide being developed by the African Forest Forum (AFF).

Developed in collaboration with the Sokoine University of Agriculture in Tanzania, the new academic training guide, whose modules will soon be presented to students and forestry experts in contact with communities, is divided into several themes, including the fight against climate change and reducing its impact on forests.

By having such a handbook, AFF is providing its decision makers with a handbook to improve knowledge about ecosystems, their composition and their vulnerability to ongoing changes, said Godwin Kowero, Secretary General of AFF.

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AFF is an association committed to the sustainable management, rational use and conservation of forest and tree resources in Africa. The organization intends to strengthen the capacities of those involved in forest management at a time when safeguarding forests is necessary to slow down the effects of global warming.

Alarming figures for the continent

Every year, 4 million hectares of forest disappear and this costs the continent a loss of 3% of its gross domestic product (GDP), according to Abebe Haile-Gabriel, the regional representative of the United Nations Food Organization and Agriculture (FAO) for Africa. According to him, 65% of productive land is degraded, while desertification affects 45% of land in Africa. This further intensifies the effects of climate change.

Between 2000 and 2020, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea and Ghana lost 71%, 67% and 60% of their tropical rainforests respectively, according to the FAO. In these three West African countries, the restoration of degraded lands is hampered by several factors such as conversion and clearing of forests, overexploitation of natural resources, urbanization and drought.

The urgency of restoring degraded lands

With a view to restoring ecosystems, FAO’s Action Against Desertification programme, which supports the Great Green Wall initiative, is working with local communities, governments and civil society to restore degraded lands in Ethiopia, Gambia and in Sudan. Between 2015 and 2020, 63,000 hectares of degraded land were planted to begin restoration with 12 million seedlings and forest seeds, according to the FAO.

Read also-AFRICA: creation of a business forum for sustainable forestry

In 2021, the Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund (CEPF) launched a new call for applications for the sustainable management of Guinean forests in West Africa. For example, the forests of Liberia (which occupy about 43% of the Upper Guinea forest) represent a significant part of the remaining forest cover in the Guinean forests hotspot of West Africa. However, the threats to these forests are numerous and destructive.

Benoit-Ivan Wansi

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