Africa’s rainforests are different. Why it matters that they’re protected

The forests will not be protected well unless local governments and the world figures out how to create new opportunities for people to make a good living without denuding the forests – and controlling greedy investors who want relatively quick profit from plantations.

Palm Oil Detectives

Martin Sullivan, University of Leeds; Oliver Phillips, University of Leeds, and Simon Lewis, UCL

Around 2 million km² of Africa is covered by tropical rainforests. They are second only in extent to those in Amazonia, which cover around 6 million km². Rainforests are home to vast numbers of species. For example, the world’s tropical rainforests are estimated to be home to at least 40,000 tree species, with up to 6,000 in African forests.

Yet African rainforests are poorly studied compared to those in Amazonia and South East Asia. And the continent’s rainforests are being lost to deforestation at a rate of 0.3% every year. This is slower than in Amazonia (estimated to be 0.5% per year in Brazil) and South East Asia (1% in Indonesia).

But greater losses are likely in the future if palm oil production, driven by

View original post 841 more words