News / Africa

Scientists Say Forests Are Key to Preventing Food Insecurity

Kenya's Turkana region shows effects of severe drought affecting Horn of Africa (file photo).
Kenya's Turkana region shows effects of severe drought affecting Horn of Africa (file photo).
Kim Lewis

Scientific research shows that forests are a crucial defense against poverty. A new study says planting trees is critical in preventing famines like the one currently devastating parts of the Horn of Africa.

The report was released by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) in Bogor, Indonesia. It recommends restoring and preserving dryland forests and planting more trees to provide food, fodder and fertilizer on small farms.

“One of the main problems in the Horn of Africa and certainly in areas of southern Africa is the fact that most of the dry forest ecosystems are extremely fragile,” said Terry Sunderland, senior scientist at CIFOR, who is currently in Nairobi attending meetings on the crisis in the Horn of Africa.

The drylands, he said, are not as productive as humid tropical forests. They are prone to soil erosion depletion after they are cleared, which makes growing crops very difficult.

“There is a strong correlation between maintaining tree coverage and maintaining precipitation. There is strong evidence to suggest when trees are cleared, precipitation drops. The hydrological cycle changes,” said Sunderland, who added that when this happens, drought often follows.

One of the major problems at the moment, particularly in southern and eastern Africa, is the cutting of trees in the dry forests for use in making charcoal, he said. “This is being driven by domestic trade and is also a very lucrative international trade,” said Sunderland.

“There is strong evidence to suggest charcoal is being exported in vast quantities to China for use in smelting work,” said Sunderland. He points out that his organization, CIFOR, is working on a project relating to that trade.

Sunderland says although new research shows trees have an enormously important function in terms of agricultural production, there is little incentive to plant them. “People plant trees on land that belongs to them,” and in Africa much of the land is owned by the state, he said.
But reforestation is crucial, he said, in preventing food insecurity.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid