Reasons why the African forestry industry is not fully developed

  • They lack capital to invest in forestry industry.
  • There is a problem of lacking skilled labour.
  • There is a problem of poor transport.
  • Most forests in Africa are now experiencing a severe problem of soil erosion.
  • The gestation period of most of valuable trees is very long and this does not match with the demand for them.
  • The tropical forest jungle environmental conditions threaten the life of forest workers.
  • The size of trees felled in Africa is too large with great weight makes it difficult for the transportation of logs to the saw mills.
  • The buttress roots which are common presents problems when felling.
  • African forests contain a thick undergrowth which makes accessibility hard.
  • Lack of pure stands of valuable trees.
  • Lack of constant market for the tropical land wood.

The commercial exploitation of forest in Africa is mostly practised in West Africa and Central Africa where there are vast cover of thick forests.

Among the countries where commercial exploitation takes place include Gabon, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Central Africa Republic, DRC and others.

The common commercial species felled include Mahogany, Ebony, Okoume, Mvule, Musizi, Rosewood, Green heart, Camphor and the like.


Purposes of forests in Africa

Forestry is concerned about the conservation and exploitation of forest resources. Africa is endowed with thousands of square kilometres of forest land.

These forests can be categorized as tropical rainforest, savanna wood lands, Mediterranean forests, Montane forests and vast man planted forests.

The tropical rainforests are the most important.

Purposes of forests in Africa

  • They are a source of fuel and building materials.
  • Tropical wood land yield a lot of useful gums and resins which is used in confectionary and in the making of inks.
  • Forests are source of fruits and nuts such as palm oil and kernels which are used in the making of vegetable oil.
  • It is a source of raw materials for handcrafts for example piassava fibre which is used in the making of stiff brushes, kapok fibre used in the making of sleeping bags and Toquilla fibre used in the making of panama hats.
  • It is a source of tinning materials.

  • They are a source of drugs and medicine for example Cinchona tree which is used in the making of Quinine.
  • Forests are used for wax which is used in the making of floor and furniture polishes.
  • Forests help in controlling soil erosion and enriching the soil with fertility from the decaying leaves.
  • Forests provide natural habitat for many hundreds of wild animals and birds which support the tourist industry.


Conditions That Led To the Disappearance of Forests

  • Over lumbering to obtain timber.
  • Defforestation due to the need to create land for agriculture.
  • Development of transport routes in forests.
  • Fire out break due to holiday makers, hunters and farmers.
  • Effect of acidic rain that destroys the forests.
  • Clearance of forests to create land for settlement.

Benefits of Coniferous Forest

  • Source of timber used for making furniture and construction.
  • Source of raw materials for industries sprint papers, Sawn board and plywood.
  • Habitant for wild animals such as bears, foxes thus promoting wildlife conservation.

  • Promotes tourism attraction e.g. picnics and holiday camping hence brings in foreign exchange used to establish social infrastructures.
  • Facilitates rainfall formation which promotesagriculture producing food for human consumption.
  • Controls soil erosion along the Vosges and Haardt mountains.
  • Acts as a source of rivers (water catchment area) providing water for industrial and domestic use.
  • Source of medicinal properties used to treat different diseases.
  • Have provided employment opportunities to forest rangers, lumbering companies who earn income to improve their standard of living.

  • Provide foreign exchange through exportation of forest products which is used to provide social services like health care.
  • Source of wood fuel used for domestic heating and industrial use.



  • Reduction and lowering of water table due to reduced rainfall totals.
  • Global warming and increased world temperatures due to reduced cloud cover.
Photo by Matthis Volquardsen on

  • Mass wasting and soil erosion along the slopes due to absence of trees to trap the soil.
  • Reduction of wildlife due to destruction of their natural which reduces foreign exchange.
  • Loss of soil fertility due to severe erosion leading to low agricultural output.
  • Desertification may arise leading to expansion of deserts.
  • Flooding may occur due to mass wasting and soil erosion due to deposition of soil materials in the valley.
  • Silting of river valleys due to increased erosion along slopes.

  • Shortage of food leading to famine due to less agricultural output.



  • Offering licenses to lumbering companies and individuals to reduce deforestation.
  • Evicting encroachers on forested land e.g. the Bakiga and Balaalo migrants in Kibaale forest reserve were evicted by government.
Photo by zhang kaiyv on
  • Formation of a ministry to supervise forests and other aspects of the environment i.e. Ministry of Lands, water & Environment.

  • Setting up Non Governmental Organisations to control environmental mismanagement e.g. National Environment Management Authority (NEMA).
  • Training and equipping forest managers with modern skills on how to look after forests.
  • Establishment of forest reserves where lumbering is prohibited e.g. Kibaale forestry reserve.
  • Encouraging re-afforestation and afforestation programs e.g. cut one tree and plant two trees.
  • Educating the masses about the dangers of deforestation.
  • Practicing agro-forestry to ensure extensive tree growth by the farmers too.
  • Encouraging the use of alternative sources of power e.g. solar energy to reduce forest destruction for wood fuel.

  • Encouraging use of alternative building and construction materials e.g. plastics, metal and glass and reduce the demand for timber.
  • Campaigning against degazetting forested land by government.
  • Growing of quick and fast maturing species to ensure constant supply of forest products. 


10 Problems facing softwood forests in Kenya and Canada

  • Forest fires which destroy large tracts of land where in Canada the greatest number of fires are caused by lighting while in Kenya they are caused by illegal loggers, poachers, etc.
  • Pests and diseases e.g. aphids which destroyed cypress in 1980s.

  • Overexploitation leading to soil erosion as trees takes long time to mature and provide sufficient cover to the soil after planting.
  • Canada‚Äôs trees take long time to mature (50-60 years due to severe winters which slow their growth. In Kenya they take 12-35 years.
  • In Canada there is problem of inaccessibility of forests in the northern part in winter and due to rugged terrain while in Kenya they are planted and easily accessible.
10 Problems facing softwood forests in Kenya and Canada
  • Forest Industry Challenges: The softwood forest industry in Canada faces challenges related to market fluctuations, trade disputes, and economic factors, which can impact the overall management and sustainability of softwood forests.
  • Forest Health Management: Monitoring and managing forest health, including controlling the spread of diseases and invasive species, is crucial to maintaining the resilience and productivity of softwood forests in Canada.
  • Forest Certification and Market Demand: Meeting international market demand for sustainably sourced softwood products requires adherence to rigorous forest certification standards, which can pose challenges for forest management practices and market access.

  • Illegal Logging: Illegal logging is a major problem in Kenya, leading to the depletion of softwood forests and loss of valuable timber resources.


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