John Libbey Eurotext

Science et changements planétaires / Sécheresse

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Firewood consumption and deforestation in the Sahel: Are FAO statistic reliable ? Volume 15, issue 3, JUILLET-AOÛT-SEPTEMBRE 2004

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Département des sciences et gestion de l’environnement, Université de Liège, Avenue de Longwy, 185, B-6700 Arlon, Belgique

A major environmental issue of the XXIst century, deforestation due to firewood consummation is an increasing problem within the Sahel of West Africa. This article underlines the difficulties to obtain reliable statistics to correctly monitor deforestation. Field data on firewood consumption are dramatically lacking and inventories of forest cover are very poor. In this context, scientists and policymakers often use the data published by FAO to understand the deforestation topic. Unfortunately, we clearly demonstrate that those data are also inaccurate and not coherent. The analysis of several official documents shows that no institution is currently able to produce any reliable data on firewood and its impact on the environment.