Thanks to Ben Zuckerman for this article. See http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/dec2011/2011-12-08-02.html
Deforestation Is Undercutting Africa’s Climate Resilience
DURBAN, South Africa, December 8, 2011 (ENS)
Deforestation is accelerating across Africa, killing wildlife and weakening the ability of the continent’s ecosystems to withstand climate change, especially in the area of food security, said forest experts in Durban for the United Nations annual climate change conference.
“Deforestation rates in Africa are accelerating,” said Helen Gichohi, president of the African Wildlife Foundation, during a keynote speech at Forest Day in Durban on the sidelines of the conference.
“The disappearing forests, the overgrazed rangelands, and conversion to crop agriculture of grasslands and wetlands that had served as a refuge to drought, have all diminished the resilience of ecosystems,” Gichohi said.
Forest Day was convened December 4 by the Center for International Forestry Research on behalf of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests. The year’s event was hosted jointly with the Government of South Africa. It attracted more than 1,000 people, including more than 200 climate change negotiators.
“It is urgent to safeguard Africa’s forests, not only because they slow climate change, but also because they act as a final barrier to creeping desertification, underpin sustainable agricultural production, and support the livelihoods of tens of millions of rural poor,” said Frances Seymour, CIFOR director general.
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