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Impact of forest exploitation on the vegetation and the flora in the listed forest of Haut-Sassandra

François N'guessan KOUAME researcher laureate

°1968 Ivory Coast
Masters in plant ecology, Université de Cocody, Ivory Coast, 1992

Influence de l'exploitation forestière sur la végétation et la flore de la forêt classée du Haut-Sassandra

Like in many tropical countries the economy of Ivory Coast depends largely upon the exploitation of forest resources. Unsustainable exploitation diminished the forested surface considerably. This implies depletion of plants that are important as food and energy source, construction material and local medicines.
However, a tendency to manage the rain forest in an intelligent way can be noticed. In Ivory Coast SODEFOR has been founded to organise the management of classified forests and the sustained production of wood.
A forest management system needs to be supported by scientific knowledge about the ecosystem. The research of Kouamé contributes significantly to this knowledge. Two forest types have been analysed: the forest of Haut-Sassandra in mid-west Ivory Coast and the forest of Bossématié in the east. The effects of exploitation and other management forms on flora and vegetation have been investigated. The flora (the list of plant species) five years after exploitation doesn't seem to be effected by logging. However because no regeneration of the harvested species could be noticed, many questions arise concerning the future of the forest.
The dissertation shows the species that need special attention in management plans.
Kouamé shows a third way between depletion and total protection of forests: the way of sustained management and wise use of precious natural resources. This is both the most valuable and the most difficult way, because it should be paved by laborious scientific data collection.