Central Africa: Although there are areas set aside as reserves in Africa, rapid population growth and strife have put incredible pressures on the forests of the Congo basin. In the Great Lakes region of Central and Eastern Africa, “protected areas” of forest in fact contain at least 125,000 km2 of farmland. At least half of the protected areas in Tanzania have been degraded by agricultural and other land uses (Musters de Graaf & ter Keurs, 2000). Nigeria has virtually no forest left, so that, in 1988, it earned $6 million from wood exports but spent $100 million on imported forest products. Other African countries are hot on Nigeria’s heels – Ivory Coast and Ghana among them. In 1980 Ivory Coast made $490 million on timber exports, but by 1987, only seven years later, the value of these exports was only $81 million (Postel and Ryan, 1991). Governments often offer ten-year tax “holidays” to timber companies, as in other parts of the tropics, in an effort to woo foreign (and local) investment.

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