Zero Hunger

Living Edition
| Editors: Walter Leal Filho, Anabela Marisa Azul, Luciana Brandli, Pinar Gökcin Özuyar, Tony Wall

Deforestation in Africa: Implications on Food and Nutritional Security

  • Paxie W. ChirwaEmail author
  • Opeyemi Adeyemi
Living reference work entry


A widely accepted definition of deforestation as stated by the Global Forest Resources Assessment is “the conversion of forest to other land use or the permanent reduction of the tree canopy cover below the minimum 10% threshold” (FAO 2015). Similarly, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in the Marrakech Accords agreement defines deforestation as “the direct human-induced conversion of forested land to non-forested land” (UNFCCC 2002).


The rate of forest loss continues at an alarming rate globally, especially within the past decade (Heino et al. 2015). According to the Global Forest Resources Assessment (2015), the world’s forests which were 4,128 million hectares in 1990 had reduced to 3,999 million hectares by 2015. This means that between 1990 and 2015, there was a net loss of 129 million hectares, equivalent to the size of South Africa. The same significant rate of forest loss is recorded in Africa, especially in sub-Saharan...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. AFROL (2002) Mangroves of Western Africa threatened by Global Warming. In: Afrol News.
  2. Akande JA (2012) Climate change mitigation activities in tropical moiat forests (TMFss) of West Africa. AFF working paper, NairobiGoogle Scholar
  3. Ambali A, Chirwa PW, Chamdimba O, Van Zyl WH (2011) A review of sustainable development of bioenergy in Africa: an outlook for the future bioenergy industry. Sci Res Essays 6(8):1697–1708Google Scholar
  4. Bellefontaine R, Gaston A, Petrucci Y (2000) Management of natural forests of dry tropical zones. FAO Conservation Guide, vol 32. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, RomeGoogle Scholar
  5. Bojang F, Ndeso-Atanga A (2009) The relevance of mangrove forests to African fisheries, wildlife and water resources. FAO Regional office for Africa, AccraGoogle Scholar
  6. Chidumayo E (2011) Climate change and the woodlands of Africa. In: Chidumayo E, Okali D, Kowero G, Larwanou M (eds) Climate change and African forests and wildlife resources. African Forest Forum, NairobiGoogle Scholar
  7. Chirwa PW (2016) Assessment of Trends in Forest Cover Change and Drivers of Land-Use Changes in Selected Hotspot Areas of Moist Forest, Rain Forest, Mangroves, Woodlands & Savannah and Parklands of The Sahel. African Forest Forum Working Paper, Nairobi, 42pGoogle Scholar
  8. Chirwa PW, Larwanou M, Syampungani S, Babalola FD (2015a) Management and restoration practices in degraded landscapes of Eastern Africa and requirements for up-scaling. Int For Rev 17(S3):20–30Google Scholar
  9. Chirwa PW, Larwanou M, Syampungani S, Babalola FD (2015b) Management and restoration practices in degraded landscapes of Southern Africa and requirements for up-scaling. Int For Rev 17(S3):31–42Google Scholar
  10. Counsell S (2006) Forest Governance in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Report. Moreton-in-the-Marsh: FERN (Forests and the European Union Resource Network)Google Scholar
  11. Eba’a Atyi R, Ngouhouo Poufoun J, Mvondo Awono JP, Ngoungoure Manjeli A, Sufo-ankeu R (2016) Economic and social importance of Fuelwood in Cameroon. Int For Rev 18(S1):52–65Google Scholar
  12. Fa J, Currie D, Meeuwig J (2003) Bushmeat and food security in the Congo Basin: linkages between wildlife and people’s future. Environ Conserv 30(1):71–78CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Falcão MP (2008) Charcoal production and use in Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania, and Zambia: historical overview, present situation and outl ook. Maputo. In: Kwaschik R (ed) Conference on charcoal and communities in Africa, Maputo, pp 20–34Google Scholar
  14. FAO (2005) State of the World’s Forests 2005. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, RomeGoogle Scholar
  15. FAO (2011) Forests for improved nutrition and food security. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, RomeGoogle Scholar
  16. FAO (2015) Global Forest Resources Assessment 2015: how are the World’s Forests Changing? Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, RomeGoogle Scholar
  17. FAO (2018) The State of the World’s Forests 2018 – Forest pathways to sustainable development. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, RomeGoogle Scholar
  18. Fatoyinbo TE, Simard M, Washington-Allen RA, Shugart HH (2008) Landscape-scale extent, height, biomass, and carbon estimation of Mozambique’s mangrove forests with Landsat ETM and Shuttle Radar Topography Mission elevation data. J Geophys Res 113(g2):G02S06CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Frost PGH (1996) The ecology of miombo woodlands. In: Campbell B (ed) The miombo in transition: woodland and Welfare in Africa. CIFOR, Bogor, pp 11–55Google Scholar
  20. Fungo R, Muyonga J, Kaaya A, Okia C, Tieguhong JC, Baidu-Forson JJ (2015) Nutrients and bioactive compounds content of Baillonella toxisperma, Trichoscypha abut and Pentaclethra macrophylla from Cameroon. Food Sci Nutr 3(4):292–301CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Gonzalez P, Tucker CJ, SY H (2012) Tree density and species decline in the African Sahel attributable to climate. J Arid Environ 78:55–64CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Heino M, Kummu M, Makkonen M, Mulligan M, Verburg PH, Jalava M, Räsänen TA (2015) Forest loss in protected areas and intact forest landscapes: a global analysis. PLoS One 10(10):e0138918CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kalumiana OS, Shakachite O (2003) Forestry policy, legislation and woodfuel energy development in Zambia. In: Mugo FW, Walubengo D (eds) Woodfuel policy and legislation in eastern and southern Africa. Proceedings of a regional workshop held at the World Agroforestry Centre, Nairobi, March 4–6, 2002. RELMA, ICRAF, p 22Google Scholar
  24. Kambewa P, Mataya B, Sichinga K, Johnson T (2007) Charcoal: the reality – a study of charcoal consumption, trade and production in Malawi. In: Small and medium forestry enterprise series no. 21. International Institute for Environment and Development, LondonGoogle Scholar
  25. Kandji ST, Verchot L, Mackensen J (2006) Climate change and variability in the sahel region: impacts and adaptation strategies in the agricultural sector. UNEP & ICRAF, NairobiGoogle Scholar
  26. Larwanou M (2011) Climate change in the West African Sahel and savannas: impacts on woodlands and tree resources. In: Chidumayo E, Okali D, Kowero G, Larwanou M (eds) Climate change and African forests and wildlife resources. African Forest Forum, NairobiGoogle Scholar
  27. Maisharou M (2012) Practices, techniques and technologies for restoring degraded landscapes in the Sahel. African Forest Forum, Nairobi. 31pGoogle Scholar
  28. Maisharou A, Chirwa PW, Larwanou M, Babalola FD, Ofoegbu C (2015) Sustainable land management practices in the sahel: review of practices, techniques and technologies for land restoration and strategy for up-scaling. Int For Rev 17(S3):1–19Google Scholar
  29. Malakini M, Mwase W, Maganga AM, Khonje T (2014) Fuelwood use efficiency in cooking technologies for low income households in Malawi. Middle-East J Sci Res 19(10):1328–1333Google Scholar
  30. Mcleoa E, Slam RV (2006) Managing mangroves for resilience to climate change. International Union for Nature, GlandGoogle Scholar
  31. Muoghalu IJ (2014) Vulnerability of biophysical and socioeconomic systems in savannahs and woodlands of West and Central Africa to climate change. African Forest Forum, Working Paper Series, vol 2(14), 31 pp.Google Scholar
  32. Njisuh ZF, Gordon NA (2011) Drivers causing decline of mangrove in West-Central Africa: a review. Int J Biodivers Sci Ecosyst Serv Manage 7(3):217–230. Scholar
  33. Okalli D (2011) Climate change and African moist forests. In Chidumayo E, Okalli D, Kowero G, Larwanou M. (eds) 2011. Climate change and African forests and wildlife resources. African Forest Forum, Nairobi, KenyaGoogle Scholar
  34. Popoola L (2013) National and sub-national REDD and REDD+ activities implemented in the mangroves in West and Central Africa African Forest Forum Working PaperGoogle Scholar
  35. Popoola L, Jimoh SO, Alarape AA (2004) Reconnaissance Survey of the Wildlife Sanctuary of Stubb’s Creek Forest Reserve, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. Report submitted to the Akwa Ibom State Government Ministry of Environment. 27ppGoogle Scholar
  36. Potts M, Zulu EM, Wehner M, Castillo F, Henderson C (2013) Crisis in the Sahel–Possible solutions and the consequences of inactionGoogle Scholar
  37. Ribeiro NS, Syampungani S, Matakala NM, Nangoma D, Ribeiro-Barros AI (2015) Miombo woodlands research towards the sustainable use of ecosystem services in Southern Africa. In: Biodiversity in Ecosystems-Linking Structure and Function. InTech, RijekaGoogle Scholar
  38. SDR (2003) Stratégie de Développement Rural, République du Niger. p 93+annexesGoogle Scholar
  39. Syampungani S, Chirwa PW, Akinnifesi FK, Sileshi G, Ajayi OC (2009) The Miombo woodlands at cross roads: potential threats, sustainable livelihoods, policy gaps and challenges. Nat Res Forum 33:150–159CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Taylor M, Ravilious C, Green EP (2003) Mangroves of East Africa. UNEP/WCMA/GPA, Cambridge, UKGoogle Scholar
  41. Timberlake J, Chidumayo E, Sawadogo L (2010) Distribution and characteristics of African dry forests and woodlands. In: Chidumayo E, Gumbo DJ (eds) The dry forests and woodlands of Africa: managing for products and services. Earthscan, London, pp 11–39Google Scholar
  42. UNCCD (n.d.) The Great Green Wall Initiative. Available at: Accessed on 18 Oct 2018
  43. UNEP (2002) African Environment Outlook: past, present and future perspectives. United Nations Environment Programme, NairobiGoogle Scholar
  44. UNEP-WCMC (2007) Mangroves of Western and Central Africa. UNEP-WCMC, Cambridge, UK. Data analysis, June 2007. Cambridge, UK. 92pGoogle Scholar
  45. UNFCCC (2002) The Marrakesh Accords & the Marrakesh Declaration. United Nations, MarrakeshGoogle Scholar
  46. White F (1983) The Vegetation of Africa, A descriptive memoir to accompany the UNESCO/AETFAT/UNSO vegetation map of Africa. UNESCO, ParisGoogle Scholar
  47. Wilkie DS, Carpenter JF (1999) ‘Bush meat hunting in the Congo Basin’ an assessment of impacts and options for mitigation. Biodivers Conserv 8:927CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. World Bank (2017) Rural population: (% of the total population). Available at: Accessed on 31 July 2018

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Postgraduate Science Programme, Department of Plant & Soil Sciences, University of PretoriaHatfield, PretoriaSouth Africa
  2. 2.Department of Forestry and Wood TechnologyFederal University of TechnologyAkureNigeria

Section editors and affiliations

  • Vincent Onguso Oeba

There are no affiliations available