GLF speaker warns of environmental costs of major African development projects

3 December 2015

Bill-photo5-cropped-1William Laurance, Director of the Centre for Tropical Environmental and Sustainability Science at James Cook University in Cairns, Australia, spoke to Voice of America about potential damage from big development projects across the African Continent.

In his study, published in the journal Current Biology, Laurance and his team assessed 33 major projects, all either proposed or in early stages. His conclusions are not too encouraging: Only six of the projects sound promising to him, six would have serious environmental consequences and the rest received mixed grades – they could go either way, so caution is advised.

The assessed projects will affect typical African landscapes such as the Congo Basin, here between Kinshasa and Lukolela, Photo: Ollivier Girard/CIFOR

The assessed projects will affect typical African landscapes such as the Congo Basin, here between Kinshasa and Lukolela, Photo: Ollivier Girard/CIFOR

“…six would slice into the heart of some of the most environmentally sensitive areas of Africa such as the Congo Basin and West African forest and critical equatorial and south equatorial forests of East Africa,” Laurance told Voice of America. “These places are amazingly rich in wildlife and environmental resources.” Those projects should be canceled altogether.

Read the full article here

William Laurence is a speaker at the Discussion Forum

Uncertainty in tropical landscapes: Emerging data and models as a bridge between the past and visions for tomorrow, taking place during the Global Landscapes Forum, on Sunday, 6 December, at 9.00 CET. The session is hosted by: International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), European Commission: Joint Research Centre and Directorate General for Climate Change Action

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