According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report glossary, Greenhouse gases are referred to as those gaseous constituents of the atmosphere which might be either natural or anthropogenic in source that absorbs and emit radiation at specific wavelengths within the spectrum of the infrared radiation emitted by the earth’s surface, atmosphere and the clouds. These properties also cause the green house effect. Water vapor, Carbon dioxide, Nitrous Oxide, Methane and Ozone are the primary greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. These gases traps the sun’s heat and keep it close to the earth

Africa as a third world country is not heavily industrialized to contribute majorly to the emission of green house gases but African can be said to be guilty due to its wide range of deforestation that is currently being experienced n most of its natural forests. Africa’s major forests are spread Over Central Africa, West Africa, East Africa and Madagascar. Due to the economic need of the rainforest communities and those of the developed world, commercial logging, wood fuel harvesting and agriculture are causing major deforestation.

The IPCC estimates that deforestation contributes to 17% of global green house emission making it the second largest source next to emission from energy supply. Estimates put carbon emissions from deforestation at 5.8 gigatone a year in 1990.

The United Nation Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) 2009 reports show that the greatest overall loss of forest occurs in Latin America followed closely by Africa. The loss of African rainforest is said to contribute to as much as 30% of global green house gases.

Natural forests act as carbon sinks which helps to capture excess carbon. Because deforestation is prominent in Africa especially in the Congo Basin, the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change (IPCC) reports points out that ‘the most sustainable policy for use of forestry as a climate change tool is ‘one that maintains or increase forest carbon stocks while sustaining timber yields’ that is, cutting deforestation rate by 50% over the next century would provide about 125 of the emission reduction needed to keep carbon concentration to 450 parts per million. This will help to prevent a significant increase in global temperatures. This action prompted the UN to set up ‘Reducing Emission From Deforestation and Forest Degradation In Developing Countries’ (REDD).

Africa no doubt, contributes to the emission of the green house gases indirectly via deforestation. While human activities have shaved the world forest by 2%. Note that the second contiguous rainforest is found in the Congo Basin of Africa. This vast green stretch spans the boundary of Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Republic of Congo.

Since the 1980s, this forest has suffered one of the highest rates of logging and agricultural clearing due to the increasing demand for fuel wood without much logging regulation.

In conclusion, for many African countries, deforestation is the biggest contribution to green house gas emission. The DRC and Zambia are particularly vulnerable and it had been estimated that nearly half a million hectares of forest in Zambia are lost every year. Research by the Rain Forest Foundation in 2007 found out that the forest of the Congo Basin were estimated to contain between 25 and 30 billion tons of carbon in it equal to about 4 years of current global anthropogenic carbon emission. In other words, over half of this carbon is stored within the forest of DRC. Africa is thus guilty of the emission of green house gases as a result of deforestation.


About Kehinde Richard Fashua
I am a passionate citizen who loves solving challenges and answering geo-questions via research & analytics for insight delivery and goodwill of brands. My specialties are in Research, Quantitative & Qualitative Data Analysis, GIS Analysis/Geo-analytics, Remote Sensing, Digital Communication, Public Relations and Graphics Design

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