Keywords: deforestation, environmental impact, human development index, agriculture, data modelling, Africa, forests, net loss, life expectancy, education, income, forest growth, forest conservation, logging, wood fuel
The role of human development on deforestation in Africa: a modelling–based approach
The rate of deforestation in Africa is of paramount concern not only to the future of Africa, but also to the world. This study uses country–level data to model changes in forest area over an 18 year period (1990–2007) in 35 African countries and investigates the role played by important development indicators of human development. The results reveal that the net loss of forests was 0.19% every year between 1990 and 2007. Human development, which involves life expectancy, education and income, is found to have a positive effect on forest growth and conservation, while logging trees for wood fuel is a significant cause of deforestation. Using generalised linear mixed models and generalised estimating equations, it was possible to calculate expected estimates of forest area for 2010, 2020 and 2030 under the assumption that nothing is done to change observed trends.