Biodiversity of West African Forests: An Ecological Atlas of by L. Poorter, F. Bongers, F.N'. Kouamý, W.D. Hawthorne

By L. Poorter, F. Bongers, F.N'. Kouamý, W.D. Hawthorne

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Additional resources for Biodiversity of West African Forests: An Ecological Atlas of Woody Plant Species (Cabi Publishing)

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Conclusions At all levels, the rate of deforestation has diminished since the years 1970-80, which was the period of massive exploitation. However, the problem of deforestation is getting more severe because the total forested area continues to diminish. Using deforestation rates instead of the actual forested areas in analyses of deforestation problems (as did Fairhead & Leach 1998) is for this reason a mistake. At the scale of West Africa, according to the sources used, we estimate that between 20% and 50% of the forest cover which existed at the turn of the 19th century remains.

The Gô-Bodiénou block. Forest cover reduced from 196 km2 in 1958 to 227 km2 in 1990 to 67 km2 in 2000. This block has much closed broadleaf forest and was highly isolated until 1990. A large part of the block is occupied by the Gô-Bodiénou “forêt classée”. The landscape to the north of this forest is made up of numerous groves. Para-rubber tree and palm plantations have increased heavily. This “forêt classée”, along with those of Yapo and Niegré, are the three last large areas of forest in the South zone of the country.

Forest cover changed from 210 km2 in 1958 to 139 km2 in 1990 to 46 km2 in 2000. Numerous migrants have established themselves along the coastal Abidjan-San Pedro road since it was improved in 1992. Coffee-cacao plantations, however, have been established to the northwest of this main road for a long time. The Yocoboue-Tiegba main road also crosses the block and led to agricultural occupation. Deforestation is essentially in the interior of “forêts classées” (10% of the classified forest area). The zone along the road to Tiegba is a mosaic of forest and agricultural land.

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