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Challenges and Opportunities for Development in Africa.docx

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Psychology 2220A/B
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Challenges and Opportunities for Development in Africa: Conservation of Land, Water and Wildlife By: Brenna Lindsay Student ID: 250517100 Date: 8/17/13 For: Idowu Ajibade Course: Geography 2030- Summer Day Brenna Lindsay 250517100 Africa is a travel destination due to its beautiful landscapes, wildlife and culture. With 54 countries and a population of approximately one billion, the continent of Africa sets records; from the longest river, The Nile, spanning 6, 650 kilometers, to the tallest free standing mountain, Mt. Kilimanjaro, at 5, 895 meters. Africa is famous for its desserts, pyramids, lions, tribes and music, making it the target for adventurous and curious individuals. However, tourists may not notice that there are multiple threats to the wonders they seek to experience and there are many conservation efforts to keep those wonders in existence. Deforestation, land degradation and desertification threaten land in Africa. Pollution and decreasing water levels threaten Africa’s water quality and quantity. Lastly, biodiversity is threatened and is in danger of extinction from both direct, like hunting, and indirect interventions like logging, increasing population and decreasing habitat. Conservation has increasingly come into focus, as those who live in these threatened areas are mostly dependant on their threatened environment. One fifth of Africa is covered in forest and it has the highest deforestation rate, which is approximately 0.6% per year (UNEP, 2008). The forests of Africa provide construction materials, food, shelter, and shade for locals and habitat for wildlife; on a global scale, the forests of Africa help regulate climate. Deforestation contributes to global warming (CO2 is released from trees when they are cut down, burned or decompose), land degradation (land loses the ability to grow food and other materials), and loss of biodiversity (UNEP, 2008). The causes of deforestation include cutting for firewood and charcoal, land conversion for agriculture and settlements, logging, and wildfires. In 2004, the African Wildlife Foundation came together with Starbucks Coffee to reduce deforestation and increase the livelihood of Kenyan farmers. Starbucks Coffee taught Kenyan farmer’s new techniques in growing coffee beans that helped - 1 - Brenna Lindsay 250517100 increase yield and, in doing so, decreased deforestation (AWF, 2012). The African Wildlife Foundation (2012) found that this increase in yield allowed farmers to sell in an international marketplace, allowing them to receive a secure and increased profit. As elephants do not like coffee plants, it also decreased human-wildlife conflict because the coffee plants created a barrier between elephant corridors and humans (AWF, 2012). In 2011, the African Wildlife Foundation implemented a project that involved planting 25, 000 seedlings in the Mau Forest Complex in Kenya to aid in reforestation. The African Wildlife Foundation (2013) reported that by 2013, they had planted 18, 115 seedlings and 160, 000 indigenous trees in the Mau forest complex. The UNEP (2008) state that, among the most demanding environmental issues is the quality and quantity change in water. With drought, variable rainfall and increasing human population, water is growing more and more scarce (UNEP, 2008). Also, the distribution of clean water across Africa is unequal and there are parts of the population that still do not have access to clean and sufficient water (Nkosi, 2011). As fresh water is mostly consumed by agriculture, the lack of water limits local farmers (UNEP, 2008). Costal and marine water has been overexploited, degraded and polluted; this not only decreases sanitary water but also has a negative effect on communities, particularly East Africa, where they rely on fishing both for consumption and income (UNEP, 2008). For example, the UNEP (2008) found that both Nigeria and Angola coastal and marine environments had been damaged from oil spills during oil extraction—a main source of revenue for the countries, 85% and 90% respectively. Pollution not only decreases the amount of clean water, but it is also the source of waterborne disease such as malaria, sleeping sickness and river blindness (UNEP, 2008). The UNEP estimates that by the year 2100, water flow in the Nile will have decreased by 75% and Nkosi (2011) found that - 2 - Brenna Lindsay 250517100 Africa risks reaching critical deficiencies in water by 2020. It is suggested that both business and residences reduce and recycle their water instead of throwing it down the drain (Nkosi, 2011). McCarthy (2008) noted that the Chad and Victoria River are “drying up” as there has been a decrease in water level and glaciers are shrinking on Mt. Kilimanjaro and Uganda’s Ruwenzori mountains, which have seen a 50% decrease in a span of 16 years. The World Wildlife Fund (2013ª) had developed a project in South Africa for the Sand River, which is an important source of fresh water for the
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