Blog » Stakeholder-led Forest Governance Assessment in Côte d’Ivoire
Côte d’Ivoire, in West Africa, has a total surface area of 322,463 km². Liberia and Guinea border it to the west, Mali and Burkina Faso to the north, and Ghana to the east. It is divided into two main geographic regions: a forest zone in the south (48.2 percent of the surface area) and a savanna zone in the north (51.8 percent of the surface area).
The forest cover, estimated at 37 percent of the country’s territory in 1960, had decreased to less than 14 percent in 2010 (World Bank 2018). The average deforestation rate increased from 1.5 percent per year between 1900 and 1980 to approximately 4.3 percent per year between 1990 and 2015 (World Bank 2018), becoming the highest in the world at the time. Between 2000 and 2008, during the political crisis, the deforestation rate reached 25 percent in the gazetted forest reserves (World Bank 2018). According to the World Bank (2018), the encroachment rate in gazetted forests increased from 18 percent of the total area in 1996 to approximately 50 percent in 2014.
The main direct causes of deforestation and forest degradation are massive expansion of extensive slash-and-burn agriculture; uncontrolled harvesting of trees, in particular for firewood (currently estimated at 20 million cubic meters per year, a figure that continues to grow, fueled by lack of protection for gazetted forests and, to a lesser extent, protected areas and significant shortcomings in the management of forest resources); bushfires (accidental or intentional, often for agriculture or hunting); and mining, notably illegal small-scale gold mining.
The main indirect causes, which have a broader yet highly significant effect on forestry resources, are growing demographic pressure, which is increasing urbanization in the forested part of the country, where 75.5 percent of the country’s population currently lives, and generalized poverty of rural households, which leads to overexploitation of available natural resources to compensate for lack of productivity of smallholder farming and of opportunities for nonagricultural rural revenues.
Three agencies administer the country’s forest areas