For decades, human needs have overshadowed the preservation of the earth’s wildlife. Across the world, many of the earth’s greatest lands and ecosystems have been demolished due to pollution and deforestation. One of the nations most affected by this travesty and injustice is Africa. In Africa, much of their land is suffering deforestation and the wildlife is slowly becoming extinct or endangered because of it.
What is African Deforestation?
Africa as a whole contributes the least amount to greenhouse gas emissions, but it is their lands that stand to face the most consequences of climate change. Around 17 percent of the world’s forests are found in Africa, including the second-largest tropical forest. This tropical rainforest of the Congo Basin accounts for 60 percent of Africa’s biodiversity. Although Africa makes up a good portion of the world’s rainforests, their deforestation rate occurs four times the rate of the global average.
The rapid deforestation rate is caused by many factors, including population growth as well as the unregulated and illegal extraction of timber. This extraction puts wildlife, local people, and economies at risk. Beyond this, much of the forests of Africa are being harvested at unprecedented rates and are done unsustainably.
Although Africa can seem worlds away for many people in more developed countries and continents, these vast forests are often known as the earth’s lungs and can be detrimental if they are destroyed. The risk of extinction affects more than just Africa and could be what is standing between us and the success or failure when fighting against global warming.
How You Can Help
While the current state of the African forests may seem bleak, not all hope is lost. Everyone around the world can do their part in helping protect wildlife from extinction. There are many different methods to follow, including supporting different charities or projects such as REDD+ projects that work to preserve the land.
It’s also important to make lifestyle changes such as choosing environmentally responsible products and responsibly sourced products. People can also help by contacting governments to enact change and spreading the word to others. African deforestation is a serious issue, but with efforts from around the world, a difference can be made.