A recent Global Forest Watch study points to the worrying acceleration of deforestation in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire.
For tropical forests, secular victims of human activities, the years follow one another and are similar: in 2018, nearly 12 million hectares of forest massif disappeared worldwide, including 3.64 million primary tropical forests essential for biodiversity. This is the conclusion of a study published at the end of April by Global Forest Watch, based among other things on satellite data. For the NGO, which has been mapping the world’s forest cover (and its steady decline) since 2001, this is the fourth worst year after 2014, 2016 and 2017.
While Brazil (1.348 million hectares of primary tropical forests destroyed in 2018), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (0.48 million hectares) and Indonesia (0.33 million hectares) remain the worst destroyers of the world’s primary tropical forests in terms of area, it is in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire that losses have accelerated the most between 2017 and 2018. In these two West African countries, the rate of destruction of primary forests has increased by 60% and 26% respectively (see graph below); a unflattering world record.
Commenting on these results, the World Resources Institute (WRI), an American research group and partner of GFW, attributes these poor performances in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire to « illegal mining » and « the expansion of cocoa farms », the two countries being the two largest cocoa producers in the world. In short, deforestation results primarily from the shortcomings of the states where it is observed. However, « Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire and major cocoa and chocolate companies made a commitment in 2017 to stop deforestation in cocoa supply chains, » the institute said, noting that the recent increase in the loss of primary forests had been 70 percent in so-called protected areas. « A worrying sign (WRI) » for which the public authorities concerned are trying to find a solution: in June 2018, the Ivorian government adopted an ambitious 10-year plan for the preservation, rehabilitation and extension of forests. Financing remains to be found, estimated at CFAF 616 billion over the period (€940 million).