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As if the fuel wood crisis wasnt enough of a drain on the forests of Africa there are several other uses for wood that contribute to deforestation and land degradation such as logging which is among the major threat to African forests In 1998 the World Resources Institute WRI launched a project called Global Forest Watch GFW which combines satellite imagery geographic information systems mapping software and the internet to gather data that will help governments and conservation groups map and prevent what is happening to the worlds rapidly disappearing forests So far parts of Africa seem to be in the worst shape At the current rate of expansion the WRI estimates about 35 of Africas total forest will be lost in the next 15 to 20 years Cameroon is one of the countries in Africa most affected by logging Between 1959 and today about 80 percent of Cameroons unprotected forest has been allocated for logging In fact Cameroon ranks fifth among the worlds largest timber exporters Medicinal uses are also responsible for consuming wood Pygeum trees also known as prunus Africana are some of the most sought after trees in the world Pygeum trees are large evergreen trees that only grow in the higher plateaus of southern Africa Traditionally the bark of the tree was collected and powdered then drunk as a tea as treatment for various urinary complications today Pygeum bark is used to treat prostate disorders As the search for these trees continue more roads are needed for transport which causes more trees to be cut down Other uses for wood include the curing of bricks and tobacco fencing for livestock tools and housing In Zimbabwe wood used for brick making is said to almost equal that of cooking in rural areas Tobacco plantations alone account for about of the national fuel wood consumption Fencing to control livestock in Botswana consumes one and a half times more wood than is
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