Sacrificing Forest for Short-term Gain

  • Claude Martin


In the first half of the 1980s, an annual forest loss of 7200 square kilometers was recorded in the countries along the Gulf of Guinea, a figure which corresponded to 4–5% of the total remaining rainforest area. In 1985, 72% of West Africa’s rainforests had been transformed into fallow territory and an additional 9% had been opened up by timber exploitation (Tabs. 1 & 2). The future of West African rainforests as a living form of vegetation and a habitat for both man and animals is thus uncertain today. The biological diversity and ecological equilibrium of the entire region is endangered. Some scientists fear that regional climate change has already begun due to large-scale deforestion and that what is left will be jeopardized by longer dry periods in the future. Foresters and the timber industry are discontent over forest destruction and an increasingly short supply of valuable hardwoods while the domestic timber needs of these countries are rising. Have we entered the last stage of a 500-year exploitation of the rainforest along the Gulf of Guinea?


Forest Reserve Sodium Arsenite Forest Loss Timber Industry Enrichment Planting 
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Copyright information

© Springer Basel AG 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Claude Martin

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