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2008 AEC - Forest management and Climate change in Africa: evidence from Cameroon

26-Sep-2008

Sustainable forest management to mitigate the climate change in Africa involves introducing policies and technologies that minimize the conversion of forest areas into farmland. However, under current practices, forests are experiencing the highest rates of depletion and degradation in this continent. This paper addresses the factors of forest clearing in Cameroon taken as a picture of Africa. The empirical evidence suggests that the producer prices of coffee and cocoa, timber prices and food crop prices influence the decision to cut down wood and to convert forests into farmland. The agricultural value added per hectare positively affects forest cover. The fertilizer price index, the credit to farmers and the per capita GDP have no effect on deforestation. Climate change has a significant negative relationship with forest depletion. Finally, the oil boom, the structural adjustment policies and the devaluation of the CFA franc have increased the speed of deforestation. A critical lesson from this paper is that policy measures outside of the formal forest sector are key part of the problem of tropical deforestation, and therefore potentially a key part of the solution. This paper also lends support to the inclusion of forest conservation in the next commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.

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