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12 Countries and Places with Most Deforestation Rates in Africa

The African continent is known for its cosmic rainforest that constitutes about 25 percent of forest cover with well-off biodiversity in the whole world.

Deforestation is a pressing problem in the African continent, and the twelve countries below have the highest rate of deforestation.

Surprisingly, the countries below made an outer shell at the U.N Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) survey list on global forest resources assessment and deforestation rates in 2020.

At present, the countries mentioned below come with the uppermost and most deforestation rates in Africa.

1. Burundi  

Burundi is a landlocked country that highly depends on subsistence agriculture, and this process has increased deforestation in the country.

The economy is predominantly agricultural, and from 2002 to 2020, the nation has lost 341ha of humid primary forest, with 29.5kha of tree cover.

  • Why deforestation rate is high in Burundi

Burundi’s deforestation is primarily caused by the unrestrained hewing, in other words, felling or cutting of trees, agricultural clearing, and grazing lands.

  • Places with high deforestation rates in Burundi

Deforestation is at an alarming rate in places like Bururi 7.01kha, Bujumbura Rural 4.66kha, Cibitoke 4.37kha, Bubanza 2.06kha, and Makamba 1.84kha.

2. Togo

Togo is among the African continents with an alarming rate of deforestation between 2005 and 2010, losing an overwhelming 5.75% of its forest.  

  • Why the high rate of deforestation in Togo

The main reason behind deforestation in Togo is a result of constant logging and charcoal production.  

  • Deforestation rate in Togo 

FAO survey has it that Togo lost an average of 19,900ha of wet primary forest between 1990 and 2010, making up 2.91% of its total tree cover loss in the same period.

3. Mauritania

Mauritania is an African country with no rainforest and a tiny tropical forest. 

From 2001 to 2020, Mauritania lost 33ha of tree cover, equal to a 100% decrease in tree cover since 2000.

  • The leading causes of deforestation in Mauritania?

The principal cause of deforestation in Mauritania include iron ore mining, agriculture, and clearing for livestock grazing.

  • Deforestation rate in Mauritania

Due to the high deforestation rate in Mauritania, the nation has annually lost about 9,800 hectares of forest between 1990 and 2000.

The totality of the forest cover lost by Mauritania between 1990 and 2005 is 35.7% or 148,000 hectares.

4. Nigeria

Historically, many parts of Nigeria comprise trees, with approximately 50% of the land not covered by forests.

The FAO believes that Nigeria has one of the highest deforestation rates as it has lost over half of its primary forests in the past five years.  

  • Cause of deforestation in Nigeria 

Incessant logging, collection of wood for fuel, and subsistence agriculture are the leading causes of high deforestation rates in the country.

Deforestation rate in Nigeria 

The yearly loss of Nigeria’s primary forest and tree cover from 2001 to 2018 is 113,948 and 818,286, respectively.

  • Areas with massive deforestation in Nigeria

Nigeria has some selected places with too much deforestation, and such areas consist of Edo 268kha, Ondo 107kha, Cross River102kha, Taraba 91.1kha, and Ogun. 82.0kha.

5. Benin 

Benin has no uninterrupted primary forest following the FAO figures, and it has lost 29% of its forest cover since 1990.

  • The deforestation rate in Benin

The deforestation in Benin from 2001 to 2020 is 40.6kha, and its loss in the primary forest from 2002 to 2020 is 27ha.  

  • Places with high deforestation rates in Benin

Some places in Benin with a high deforestation rate comprise Collines 11.0kha, Atlantique, 4.66kha, Plateau 3.33kha, Zou 2.41kha, and Donga 1.60kha.

  • Causes of deforestation in Benin

The causes of deforestation cannot be over-emphasized, and it revolves around agriculture, expansion of infrastructure, and wood extraction for fuel or timber.

6. Sudan

About 69,949,000 ha or 29.4% is forested, but presently, Sudan has had a severe decline of 1.5%.

  • What is the deforestation rate in Sudan?

Although Sudan is one of the countries that preserve forests, the U.N. FAO data shows it has lost an average of 321,600 ha between 1990 and 2010, 

  • Causes of deforestation in Sudan

The causes of deforestation in Sudan can be associated with an increase in population, swift urbanization, extensive agriculture, and the harvest of woodfuels.

7. Zambia

Zambia is another African country with a significant deforestation rate that severely affects the nation’s eastern province.

  • What is the rate of deforestation in Zambia?

According to its primary forest loss, the deforestation rate in Zambia is 1.4%, the percent loss from 2001-2018 is 6.6%, yearly loss between 2001and 2010 is 682.19, and annual loss from 2011-2018 is 1,966.97.

  • The reason for deforestation in Zambia 

In Zambia, the primary cause of deforestation is the cut down of trees for firewood, charcoal production, and replacement of natural woodland with forest plantations.

  • Areas with much deforestation in Zambia

Deforestation is mostly in rural communities like Chipata, Lundazi, Katete, Nyimba, Chadiza, Mambwe, Sinda, Petauke, etc., all in the eastern province of Zambia.

8. Tanzania

Tanzania’s practice of deforestation is a threat to the future because, within a short while, the country lost eight million of its forested land.

  • What led to the rise of deforestation in Tanzania? 

The top factors that cause deforestation are illicit timber trading, shifting cultivation, and untenable charcoal production.

  • Most affected places in Tanzania 

The regions of Tanzania mainly affected by deforestation include Tanga, Shinyanga, Mbeya, Tabora, Dodoma, Kigoma, Singida, and the coast.

  • What is the deforestation rate in Tanzania?

Tanzania has a yearly deforestation rate of about 400,000 hectares, and between 1990 and 2010, the nation has lost more than 19.4% of its wooded land.

9. DR Congo

Deforestation in the Democratic Republic of Congo has turned into an essential transnational issue, and its rate has remained stable from 1990 till 2015.

  • What caused deforestation in DR Congo

The chief cause of deforestation in DR Congo is the unregulated logging, unfettered mining, and demands made by the subsistence activity.  

Firewood’s, clump for construction, and production of charcoal all contributed to the high rate of deforestation in DR Congo.  

  • The deforestation rate in Congo

Congo’s deforestation rate has remained unvarying at 0.2%, equating to its yearly loss of 311,000 hectares.

  • Places with colossal deforestation in Congo

In the eastern DR Congo, deforestation is more concentrated, average-sized cities besides the Congo River, Kinshasa, and Bas-Congo provinces.

10. Ethiopia

According to the FAO index, Ethiopia is a onetime forested country with 11.2% that has recently experienced colossal deforestation.

  • Drivers of deforestation in Ethiopia 

The primary cause of deforestation in Ethiopia, a country in East Africa, has a link with the budding population.

Subsequent higher demand for agriculture, fuelwood, low education, livestock production, and inactivity from the government led to the cause of deforestation in Ethiopia.

  • Deforestation rate in Ethiopia 

Between 1990 and 2010, Ethiopia lost an average of 140,900 hectares per year and 18.6% of its forest cover in total.

  • Places in Ethiopia with massive deforestation

Between 2000 and 2019, there was deforestation across the roads and stream valleys in Kumbi, Soriba, Hawo, and Likimisa Bokore.

11. Madagascar

At present, the forest of Madagascar covers just about 12% of the country’s land area, as it has lost up to 80% of its original forests.

  • The negative effect of deforestation in Madagascar

Madagascar practicing a slash and burn agricultural activity resulted in soil loss, desertification, water resource degradation, and unable to produce fresh water and adequate food.

  • Places with deforestation in Madagascar 

The region with the most noticeable deforestation in Madagascar is Toamasina, with a tree cover loss of 1.62Mha.

  • How much of Madagascar forest is gone 

As far back as 2005 and to date, the yearly deforestation rate in Madagascar has increased gradually to 99,000 hectares.

12. Ghana

Ghana has experienced annual deforestation of 0.7%, 0.5%, 0.4%, and 0.6% for the era 1990 to 2000, 2000–2005, 2005 to 2010, and 2010–2015, respectively.

  • Causes of deforestation in Ghana

Deforestation in Ghana arises mainly from the exploitation of natural resources and agricultural expansion.

  • What is the deforestation rate in Ghana?  

Since the beginning of 1990, the annual deforestation rate for Ghana has been at an estimation of 0.6%.

What countries in the world have the highest deforestation?

Countries with the highest deforestation worldwide comprise Nigeria, the Philippines, Benin, Ghana, Indonesia, Nepal, North Korea, Liberia, and Ecuador.

What countries have deforestation in Africa?

Around 2000, Burundi had the maximum yearly deforestation rate in Africa, followed by Sudan, Zambia, Tanzania, Nigeria, and DR Congo.

Which African country has the most deforestation rate?

Nigeria has the most deforestation rate, and following the FAO survey, it has lost half of its main forest in the past 5years.  


Generally, agricultural activities, including planting and grazing in most of these African countries, contributed to the high rate of deforestation.

Again, other activities such as logging, cultivation, urbanization, bush burning, etc., are all part of the human movement that significantly increased deforestation.

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