Analyse aspects of a contemporary geographic issue
A contemporary geographic issue refers to a topic, concern, problem, debate, or controversy related to a natural and/or cultural environment, which includes a spatial dimension, and is currently unresolved.
The deforestation that is currently occurring in Africa is a contemporary geographic issue, as it is a concern for the African environment, covering the region of sub-Saharan Africa, and is still on-going in the present day. 1000km
Deforestation refers to the removal of a forest or stand of trees where the land is thereafter converted to a non-forest use. Deforestation is detrimental to any environment, and has a variety of negative environmental impacts including: * Loss of ecology.
African forests contain millions of species of countless wildlife and plant species. It is estimated that up to 50,000 plant and animal species become extinct each year due to tropical deforestation. This is detrimental to our ecology, and we will eventually lose millions of species due to deforestation. * Contributions to global warming.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, deforestation could account for up to one-third of all anthropogenic carbon emissions. Deforestation causes carbon to linger in the air, which traps solar radiation in Earth’s atmosphere, ultimately warming Earth’s air temperature. * Loss of soil and atmospheric moisture.
Many trees transpire groundwater through their roots, and release this moisture into the atmosphere. Once an area of forest in cleared, the water is not released into the atmosphere, resulting in loss of precipitation in nearby areas, ultimately resulted in insufficient nutrients for other areas of forest. N
However, the deforestation occurs for many reasons, most of which relating to positive short-term economic effects for surrounding areas and companies. Either the wood is sold, or used to heat and fuel households in Africa. In Africa, 90% of household heating and cooking energy comes from burning wood. However, this is not a sustainable option, as the forests are rapidly disappearing. This results in loss of long-term economic benefits for logging companies, and illegal loggers. Developing countries, many of which are African, have been experiencing growth three times higher than many developed countries. Africa is the only continent whose population is expected to continue increasing past the year 2100. This enormous change will result in new cities and towns, and increased infrastructure, ultimately resulting in more deforestation to make way for roads and other cultural features. As shown in Map 1, Most of Africa is at risk to deforestation. Every country except Tunisia, which is half-covered by the Sahara Desert, is at Medium Risk, with half of the countries being at high risk. Many of these high risk countries are located in Central Africa, due to the tropical climate, and therefore have greater forest cover. This Map, produced in 2012, shows the spatial variation of deforestation in Africa, and the true extent of this detrimental issue.
Central Africa Forests Commission (COMIFAC)
‘The Central Africa Forests Commission is an intergovernmental organisation in Central Africa. Its goal is to manage the forests of Central Africa in a sustainable manner.’
In 2005, COMIFAC adopted a convergence plan to improve the preservation and management of Central African Forests: The Convergence Plan is founded on ten strategic axes:
1. Harmonization of fiscal and forestry regulation
2. Resources knowledge
3. Ecosystems management
4. Biodiversity preservation
5. Sustainable valorization of forest resources
6. Development of activities in order to reduce poverty
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