ForestsAfrican forests are home to many different kinds of tree, and each kind is well-known for its special uses for humans. Trees give us firewood, charcoal and coal, and a feast of food and furnishings - fruit, nuts, chairs, tables, broomsticks, fishing rods, magic wands and medicine. Trees serve wildlife too - binding, feeding and shading the soil so that other plants can live on the forest floor, and providing homes for masses of insects, birds and animals.
More than 15 million people across Africa depend on forests for their livelihoods, chopping them down for fuel, or to sell as timber. People who clear the forest to grow food depend on the fertile soil created by the forest ecosystem. They suffer when this soil loses its goodness and washes away because it is no longer sheltered from heavy rain or fed by leaf-fall.
In fact, we all depend on forests. Forests are part of the planet’s life support system. They feed the rain, clean the air, protect the soil, and keep our water supplies stable. Because trees absorb carbon dioxide, forests also help guard against global warming, one of humanity’s most serious problems. The ‘global community’, especially the rich, must be prepared to pay for the safe keeping of the forests, which means looking after the people who may otherwise destroy it just to survive.
Despite our dependence on trees, their loss is one of the biggest problems facing Africa today. One fifth of Africa’s forests were lost during the 1980s. Just 8% of Africa’s original forest remains.
This topic investigates how people in Africa are managing trees and forests for the future. Whether for food, income or the environment, if we look after trees, they’ll look after us. He, or she, who plants a tree plants hope.
DOWNLOAD: EXCERPTS FROM AFRICA OUR HOME
DOWNLOAD: FORESTS ACTION SHEETS
DOWNLOAD: FORESTS ACTIVITIES
DOWNLOAD: FORESTS DIRECTORY
The forest films are available from PACE, firstname.lastname@example.org. The following are the sections of the DVD which are applicable to this topic:
Click on the links above to find out more about these projects.
A tree nursery in Lama, Kenya. © Sarah Watson
Soap made from the Neem tree, a tree grown all over Africa. Growing more trees on farms can reduce the pressure on wild forest resources. © Sarah Watson
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Last Updated on 2/1/2013