What’s causing deforestation in Africa and how to stop it

What’s causing deforestation in Africa and how to stop it | DW News

The Democratic Republic of Congo is home to the world’s second largest rainforest. But this rainforest is in danger. Every year, DRC loses half a million hectares of its forest. That’s partly because people are cutting down trees to produce charcoal. But there could be a solution to the massive deforestation. In Tanzania, the extensive deforestation of one island has been turned around. Located in Tanzania’s Zanzibar Archipelago, the tiny island of Kokota measures only one square kilometer and is home to several hundred people. Two decades ago, its trees all but disappeared. But Kokota’s forests have now come back from the brink.

The democratic republic of congo is home
to the world’s second largest rainforest
but this rainforest is in danger every
year drc loses half a million hectares
of its forest that’s partly because
people are cutting down trees to produce
charcoal but there could be a solution
to the massive deforestation
matong
a crowded neighborhood in kinshasa the
capital of dlc
shiloh shibawa runs one of the city’s
many street restaurants
she depends on charcoal made from wood
to prepare food and heat water
she says she doesn’t have a choice
you see charcoal is really good
because electricity isn’t stable
and if there isn’t any electricity at
all
how can you cook
nearly 9 out of 10 people in drc rely on
wood charcoal or firewood as their main
fuel supply
kinshasa is one of africa’s biggest
cities
people here burn through more than 2
million tons of charcoal each year
the ecological price of using so much
charcoal is enormous
this forest just outside of kinshasa is
part of the congo basin rainforest
it’s the second largest rainforest in
the world
but trees here are being felled
indiscriminately to feed the lucrative
charcoal market
this is one potential alternative to the
mostly illegal felling
several farming communities here are
planting fast-growing academies on the
plateau batake a vast savannah that
starts just east of kinshasa
benjamin kikenza is a deputy coordinator
of nca project which is funded by the
european union
the idea behind the project is to create
a sustainable supply of wood to turn
into charcoal
people practicing agroforestry are doing
it in a sustainable way
they themselves plant the trees operate
their farms and then cut the trees to
create charcoal with their own trees
that’s a full cycle
they plant they exploit they replant
kakenza is one of the 260 farmers now
operating an acacia plantation as part
of the project
once the acacia trees become mature
after around eight years they are cut
down
the felt acacias are covered over and
then slowly burnt to produce charcoal
then in place of the acacia corn and
cassava are planted and harvested
when the soil isn’t fertile enough for
the food crops acacia is planted again
the non-native trees help replenish the
soil with nitrogen
and the cycle of crop rotation begins
again
the acacia plantations are a way of
providing farmers with a source of
income
and preserving native forests says
cacanza
that’s the solution
you leave the forest ecosystem in
we peace create these kinds of projects
across the whole country
and we will have solved the problem of
deforestation
producing greener charcoal has its
challenges
the ncaa project needed millions of
euros in startup funding and loads of
scientific knowledge
plus in a neighboring project not all of
the farmers wait eight years for the
trees to mature and sometimes cut the
trees down earlier
back in kinshasa the market for charcoal
is expected to keep booming as a city
rapidly expands
but charcoal from primary forest isn’t
just bad for the environment it’s also
bad for people
smoke from charcoal fires can cause
serious illnesses like lung cancer and
heart disease
that means in the longer term to protect
its citizens and its forest dr congo
needs to invest in alternatives like
hydroelectricity or gas
joining me now is mary jenga she’s a
scientist at the center for
international forestry research and
world agroforestry in nairobi hello mary
now across africa trees that grow
quickly are being planted more to be
used as charcoal is that a good way to
tackle deforestation and make charcoal
greener
yes
growing trees for charcoal
is the way to go growing trees
enhances tree cover
and
growing trees for charcoal reduces
deforestation
and lard degradation
and these trees as they grow for
charcoal they have either multiple
benefits
i mean a lot of your research is based
on that sustainable charcoal tell us
more about how to achieve that
making charcoal sustainable requires
adopting a system approach and this
system approach has to ensure that wood
for charcoal is produced sustainably
and then the wood is
efficiently processed
into charcoal reducing wood wastage and
emissions that rate
utilization of charcoal through orphans
or cook stocks needs to be made very
efficient
to reduce wood wastage
and also
reduce
indoor air pollution
how do you make it efficient though
for example
in terms of efficient systems we are
working a lot with
other stakeholders and farmers to ensure
that the way they turn taco in
the way they turn wood into charcoal
they dry wood very efficiently and then
the private sector is also coming in to
see how can they buy the biomass that
farmers are growing and put it in a
large scale gasification system where we
produce charcoal and gaseous energy is
tapped into biomass electricity okay
okay now here’s the thing some say
burning charcoal whether sustainable or
not contributes to climate change what’s
your response to that
burning charcoal
in very efficient ways
will
reduce climate impact
it’s
it can happen this way one if we have a
lot of growing trees for for charcoal we
are building carbon sinks
and we are enhancing the tree cover and
then
if we adopt very efficient systems
where we are reducing emissions during
carbonization then we reducing rising
carbon into the air and that ray then
the orphans that are using charcoal the
cook stoves
to be made very efficient to reduce
emissions and reduce fuel consumption
the whole system if it’s made very
efficient and sustainable we are
we will then have
climate smart charcoal production and
utilization
heading towards greener
mary jenga we’re the center for
international forestry research and
world agroforestry in nairobi thank you
now to tanzania where the extensive
deforestation of one island has been
turned around located in tanzania’s
zanzibar archipelago the tiny island of
kokota measures only one square
kilometer
and is home to several hundred people
two decades ago its trees all but
disappeared but cocotus forest have now
come back from the brink
this is kokota an island in the indian
ocean off the coast of tanzania
here for a long time the inhabitants
thought their forest had disappeared
forever
after decades of intense logging there
was nothing left
but the forest has returned
dense and lush
[Music]
and it’s all thanks to one man
he’s currently delivering gifts to
children on the island
and as always it all starts with a song
take three or
four know
i don’t bring them sweets or cakes trees
are much more important especially for
the new generation here
for more than 15 years now baroque has
been bringing trees to the people of
kokota
they take a short walk to the middle of
the island to a clearing where they will
be planting today
you have to space them one meter apart
from each other put them in the earth
and then press down really hard
check that the tree is straight
then we’re done
you can clap now
[Applause]
it all started in 2005 when umbaruk came
to the island for the first time he
discovered a paradise on the brink of
complete destruction not a single tree
was left and without their roots
rainwater was not staying in the soil
the temperature had risen the wildlife
had disappeared
the island was dying they cut the
slowly slowly the the forest there for
house construction for the body
consumption for the business activity
for example like a different species of
or for trees whereby it was here but
right now remember the story because you
cannot find that
decided to try and save kakota
the former accountant started an ngo
and applied for funding from the
european union and other organizations
to reforest the island
but he didn’t stop there he organized
solar panels and the construction of the
island’s first school
today some 600 people live on kokota
those who wanted to leave the island a
few years ago have decided to stay the
quality of life here is now better than
on other islands and villages in the
region

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