Forests of Hope - Africa

Forests and Woodland in West Africa. Photo: Wikimedia

Africa is richly endowed with vast tropical forests, ranging from areas with the least forest cover in Northern Africa to the Congo Basin in Central Africa, which houses the world’s second largest continuous block of tropical forest. African forests host a wide spectrum of biodiversity, with many species endemic to the continent. The per capita forest cover in Africa is 0.8 ha per person compared with the global 0.6 ha per person.

In the last century, these forests have been faced with increasing degradation due to unsustainable consumption and production patterns, yet forests provide a livelihood for significant human populations and contribute on average 6% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Africa. BirdLife International established the Forests of Hope Programme to prevent deforestation and restore natural forest. BirdLife is working in forest-rich African countries to identify and pilot innovative management, financing and governance systems for forest and biodiversity conservation and restoration, generating local and national economic benefits for sustainable development, and combating climate change.


Current status of the Forests of Hope Programme in Africa 

The Forests of Hope Programme is being implemented in two pilot areas in Africa: the transboundary Gola Forests in Sierra Leone and Liberia and Tsitongambarika Forest in Madagascar.


Future Plans

  • Prevent deforestation and restore natural forest at up to 5 sites covering at least 600,000 hectares of tropical forest by 2020.
  • Develop site profiles for candidate sites.
  • Identify partners/sponsors to support implementation of the Forests of Hope projects.
  • Develop tools for large-scale, long-term management, governance and financing of forest conservation and restoration.
  • Explore innovative approaches to conserve and restore priority forests, maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services.
  • Develop effective policy approaches to address the drivers of deforestation.    


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