Forests and woodlands in Africa occupy an estimated 650 million hectares (21.8 percent) of the land area of this continent and account for 16.8 percent of the global forest cover.
Africa’s forests and woodlands can be classified into nine general categories including tropical rain forests, tropical moist forests, tropical dry forests, tropical shrubs, tropical mountain forest, subtropical humid forests, subtropical dry forests, subtropical mountain forests and plantations. Mangrove forests cover 3390,107 ha. Only 32.5 million ha of forests and woodlands, or five percent of the total forest area, are formally protected.
Africa has a high per capita forest cover at 0.8 ha per person compared to 0.6 ha globally.
On average, forests account for 6 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in Africa, which is the highest in the world.
In Uganda, for example, forests and woodlands are now recognized as an important component of the nation’s stock of economic assets and they contribute in excess of US$546.6 million to the economy through forestry, tourism, agriculture and energy.
Forests and woodlands also contribute to the long-term social and economic development goals of New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and can play an important role in addressing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and meeting its targets. They provide energy, food, timber and non-timber forest products (NTFPs) and are important contributors to wealth and health at the household, community, national, sub-regional, regional or even global level.
Flora and Fauna
The forests and woodlands of Africa are home to half the world’s species of animals, birds and insects. Almost half the forest which remains across the world is in the tropics, where the Congo basin makes up a fifth of the globe’s rainforest.
Animals include African forest elephant, Monkeys, Chimpanzees, Antelope, Bush Pig, Buffalo Chameleon Chimpanzee Crocodiles, white rhinoceros, endangered Painted Hunting Dog and Cheetah among others.
Many of the forests are severely fragmented due to the encroachment of an expanding human population, leading to demand for firewood and extensive conversion of land to agricultural use.
The following are the major forests in Africa summarized to include the following
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