, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 37-53

A recent history of forest fragmentation in southwestern Ivory Coast

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This study provides monitoring and spatial analysis of forest fragmentation based on high-resolution remote sensing, in order to give a framework for assessing residual biodiversity in the Guiglo-Taï region. Massive deforestation has taken place, mainly in the last 20 years, 79% of unprotected forests have been eliminated on the 100 × 100 km study area. Deforestation is also beginning to encroach on protected areas. Forest fragments are mainly found close to the deforestation front. In areas which were first deforested, forest fragments are very scarce and are restricted to less productive soils; they are often severely degraded. Young secondary forests develop on abandoned fields, but primary forest regeneration seems unlikely in light of the distance from seed sources and the increase in population pressure. Conservation initiatives in this zone of high biodiversity should focus on protected areas, taking into account short and long term benefits for the local population.