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Discussion: Scarcity and Choice in Ancient African Kingdoms

Today, Africa suffers from widespread conflict, poverty, famine, and disease. Many of these problems have been the result of challenges regarding climate and geology that limit the continent's ability to support it's fast-growing population. Predictions have been made that Africa will experience more and more conflict over scarce resources.

At the end of 1990, Africa had 30 percent of the world's tropical forests. In several sub-Saharan African countries, the rate of deforestation is higher than the global annual average of 0.8 percent.

Deforestation is the changing of forested areas to non-forest land. This is done to use the land as pasture, urban use, logged area, or wasteland. Deforestation happens when trees are removed from an area and are not replanted or replaced in another area nearby. This problem is having a negative effect on the environment.

The leading cause of deforestation in Africa is human activity. People in developing countries rely on wood fuel, the major energy source for cooking and heating. In Africa, 90 percent of the entire continent's population uses wood fuel for cooking, and in Sub-Saharan Africa, firewood and brush make up approximately 52 percent of all energy sources.

Forests and lumber are becoming a scarce resource in sub-Saharan Africa today. Read some more about the deforestation of sub-Saharan Africa, and the scarce resources that result from this problem, online. Use the following terms in your search:

  • sub-Saharan Africa
  • deforestation
  • scarce resources
  • wood fuel

What are some effects that deforestation is having on the environment? What are some possible solutions to this problem? Should people be limited in the amount of wood they can use when it is their main source of fuel? Click here to download an organizer to take notes as you read more about deforestation in sub-Saharan Africa.

Post your responses to these questions in the discussion area. Be sure to respond to at least three classmates' responses.

Click here to see how your assignment will be graded.

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