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Deforestation

DEFORESTATION

The Ivorian forest cover is heavily degraded.

FACTORS OF DEFORESTATION

According to the study “Qualitative analysis of the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation in Côte d’Ivoire” (BNETD, 2016), the direct drivers of deforestation are ranked in order of impact as follows:

  • Agriculture (Cocoa, rubber, palm, cashew, etc.): 62%;

  • Logging (Timber, Charcoal): 18%;

  • Infrastructure expansion: 10%;

  • Mining: 8%;

  • Bushfires: 3%;

The primary driver, agriculture, is occurs according to a particular dynamic.

The natural forest is first replaced by cocoa farms. Then, due to the decline in fertility, over time, old cocoa farms are gradually abandoned and recolonized by fallow land including trees. Finally, these secondary forests or fallows are reconverted to other crops, notably rubber.

These direct factors are supported by indirect factors that greatly influence their occurrence. These are, in order of impact:

  • Economic factors (economic attractiveness, regularity of income): 36%;
  • Political and institutional factors (political crisis, weak law enforcement): 35%;
  • Demographic factors (natural increase, migration): 24%;
  • Technological factors: 4%;
  • Cultural factors: 1%.

These deforestation factors can be summarized as follows:

Source : BNETD, 2016

IMPACTS OF DEFORESTATION

The consequences of the destruction of the forests in Côte d’Ivoire are enormous.

  • The disruption of the microclimate and the rain cycle leading to a decrease in agricultural production which affects economic growth;

  • Erosion and decline of soil fertility;

  • The degradation of the forest cover of the basins and the disorganization of the hydrographic network;

  • The crumbling of biodiversity;

  • The disappearance of animal habitats, exacerbating human-wildlife conflicts;

  • Global warming.

ACTIONS INITIATED TO FIGHT AGAINST DEFORESTATION

Nevertheless, Côte d’Ivoire, which has experienced a sharp decline in forest cover, has taken major steps to reverse the deforestation trend; Namely,

  • The adoption in November 2017 of the National Redd+ Strategy, including the strategic option “zero deforestation agriculture”;
  • The signing of the Cocoa & Forests Initiative Joint Framework for Action in November 2017, in Bonn, Germany, between the Governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana and some 30 companies in the cocoa and chocolate sector; this initiative aims to eliminate deforestation from the cocoa supply chain.
  • The adoption in May 2018 of the Policy for the Preservation, Rehabilitation and Extension of Forests, which aims to increase the rate of forest coverage from 11% in 2015, to 20% by 2030. In January 2019, this policy was translated into a strategy whose overall cost has been estimated at one billion euros.
  • The relaunch of the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) FLEGT negotiation process with the European Union in 2020 with the objective of finalizing the agreement in 2022 and initiating its implementation to guarantee the legality and traceability of Ivorian timber.

It is important to have mapping data to know with precision the current and former state of the forests of Côte d’Ivoire.

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