Dec 15, 2018 | Updated: 09:51 PM EST

Africa Might Face Deforestation: Study Explores The Risk As Demand Of Cocoa Increases

Apr 08, 2017 03:24 PM EDT

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Africa is the largest continent in terms of cocoa production. Nearly about 70 percent of world's cocoa is produced there. It is very much possible that every time a human bites a chocolate bar, it contains cocoa produced by this country. Africa requires carving more than 325,000 acres of new farmland every year from the forests.

According to Stanford news, a Stanford study has been done regarding the agricultural expansion in Africa. The study shows that how the demand for commodity crops such as cocoa from international market is affecting sub-Saharan Africa's tropical forests. The study and its findings were published in Environmental Research letter.

The study suggests the reason for policymakers that the decisions regarding deforestation can be tailored around. Elsa Ordway, who is a graduate student of Stanford's School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences, is the lead author of the study. "We are starting to better understand issues related to large-scale agricultural expansion in the tropics such as Africa," she stated.

Science Daily reported that Africa has the opportunity for taking lessons from other regions that applies preventive policies. As per the study, the policies can reduce the local region poverty issues and forest conservation can be incentivized. This will be better than the global deforestation that has partnered agricultural expansion in other regions.

As the agricultural production in Africa has an increase in the rate of production globally, it is expected to increase more than 10 percent by the year 2025. The Sub-Saharan African continent has huge numbers of cheap lands and labors, which would attract the multinational companies for expanding further.

The deforestation rates in Africa are not more than South America or Southeast Asia but still, the continent has lost an area of intact forest since the year 2000, which is about the size of Iceland. Meanwhile, the findings of the study could inform all the so-called "zero deforestation commitments" which are made by numbers of multinational companies helping the countries stick to their commitments under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

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