An oasis in the Kanem Region of Lake Chad Basin. Women from the local village participating in the Great

11.12.2019

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Nearly two thirds of Africa’s land is degraded. This is all the worse since the rural population, and here, above all, smallholder farmers and households, heavily depend on healthy soils and tree cover. Our authors show how the continent is responding to the challenge by implementing forest landscape restoration initiatives, one of the most recent ones being AFR100.

Rural communities in Africa depend predominantly on forests for everyday upkeep and survival. Locals in rural African communities regularly go out into the forests searching for batches of firewood for their next meal, while others collect mushrooms, fruits, nuts, berries and herbs to sell locally in order to earn a living. Therefore, forests carry within them the well-being and livelihoods of the populations in the African continent. A further important function of forests in Africa is their job creation potential. The timber production sector employs tens of millions of people, and therefore households, through small-scale wood collection, charcoal production, transportation and retail.

The rural population receive around a quarter of their income from the collection and direct trade of plant seeds, shoots and roots, mushrooms, wildlife and insects. Non-timber forest products are also harvested and traded as medicine, decorations, essential oils and skincare products. In Africa, we use a lot of palm oil in our products, which is derived from the palm tree forests.

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