Demand for Wood in Africa Could Triple By 2050

Demand for Wood in Africa Could Triple by 2050, Straining the Continent's Dwindling Forest Resources, Warns UN Report

Integrating informal sectors into official economy could protect forests by promoting sustainable management and boosting productivity

Nairobi, 9 September 2015 - The demand for forest products and services in Africa is growing rapidly, fuelled by a growing population and an expanding economy. By 2050, domestic demand for industrial roundwood could double or even triple from the current annual level of 96.2 million m3 found a report released today by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Such pressure, coupled with the encroachment of other sectors on forests, could lead to unsustainable levels of exploitation and accelerating deforestation, resulting in loss of livelihoods and a decrease in biodiversity.

The report, entitled "The Role of Forests in a Green Economy Transformation in Africa", calls for a stronger integration of the largely informal forest sector into national planning and accounting. This would boost the sector's productivity, while promoting sustainable management of forest resources, helping to meet the growing demand for forest products.

Covering around 35 per cent of Africa's land, forests and wooded lands play a very important role in its economy, which is not fully reflected in official statistics. Economic policymaking tends to focus only on the formal wood industry, which contributes less than 1 per cent to the continent's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

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