The world’s greatest concentration of biological wealth is found in tropical developing countries including Africa that are beset by acute poverty. In these regions, the loss of biodiversity is accelerating as poverty is increasing. African tropical forests represent one of the world’s great remaining blocks of closed canopy habitat. This forest is under increasing pressure from population growth, unsustainable resource use, a hotter and drier climate, poor management, and other problems related to poverty, scarce financial resources and political instability. Well known examples are slash-and-burn practices, excessive commercial logging and clearing of natural habitats for agriculture and urban expansion. Other factors of forestry degradation include unsustainable timber exploitation, shifting cultivation, and other human activities, which are posing increasing threats to this globally significant tropical forest resource.

In Africa, conservation and natural resource management is mainly undertaken by the State. There is some private sector involvement in conservation, especially in some protected areas. However, the interests of rural communities who depend on natural resources for their livelihoods are invariably marginalized.

Programme activities need to be supported to reduce the rate of deforestation of the African tropical forests and conserve the biodiversity contained within them. Thus, in the long term, avert potentially negative changes in the global and regional climate.

Forests play a crucial role in the economies of many African countries, providing timber and industrial material as well as contributing to tourism, recreation and cottage industry. Tropical forests help regulate the global climate through the absorption of carbon dioxide. Other important factors that contribute to deforestation and forest degradation include, illegal logging, grazing pressures, illegal cultivation, the demand for fuel wood and charcoal, refugee-related problems, oil and mining exploitation, natural climatic events and forest fires.

The Programme will collaborate with other international NGO networks and forest-related groupings in campaigning against the causes of deforestation.

CA will support local non-governmental organizations and local communities to undertake tree planting, nurseries development, and other means of generating income that do not harm wildlife or the environment.

In the area of wildlife, CA activities will focus on monitoring and highlighting the threats to conservation of species and ecosystems, identifying priorities for conservation action, and advocating for the conservation and sustainable use of endangered species through education and the dissemination of information.