Working for birds in Africa

Conservation

Mon, 01/14/2013 - 14:54 -- abc_admin

In the 1980s the deforestation rate in Côte d'Ivoire was reported to be the highest in the world and now Ivorian forests are in a catastrophic state. Only about 10% of the original forest cover has been preserved of which about two thirds is west of Sassandra river. The main causes of deforestation are plantations and charcoal production. Timber exploitation was once important but has since decreased with the forest cover. The savanna zone is less affected due to its lower population density. Hunting is illegal in the country but this interdiction is little respected. It affects mostly mammals but also many large birds (bustards, guineafowl, large hornbills, Great Blue Turaco Corythaeola cristata and many raptors) which are now rare or absent outside reserves.

Côte d'Ivoire has eight National Parks and reserves, all of which are IBAs. Their state of conservation is naturally a function of their size: while the two largest (Taï and Comoé) are mostly undisturbed except on their margins, the smaller ones suffer much from human activities. Lamto Ecological Research Station has currently no official protection status but it has been proposed as a reserve. It is unfortunately very small, and all the area around it is degraded. The seven other IBAs are Forêts Classées ("Forest Reserves") which are officially protected but in fact much exposed to deforestation and hunting; several other "Forêts Classées" have already been completely cleared despite their official status. Mabi/Yaya and Cavally/Goin-Débé FCs are still relatively undisturbed, but Mopri FC is mostly covered with forestry plantations and very little natural forest remains. The highland forests of the west have also suffered from clearance in recent years although Mt Glo and Guéoulé FC are still in a good state.

The country is facing huge political and economic problems so that conservation can hardly be a priority at present.

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