MALI, LIKE SO many other African countries, is a victim of serious deforestation, and as in many other African countries, the destruction is often blamed on the poor. It is true that many rural people, faced with hunger and uncertainty, have found it difficult to plan beyond the present. With declining crop yields, growing competition for natural resources, and a capricious climate, many Malian farmers have been driven to over-

exploit their assets to make ends meet.

Trees were an obvious target: owned and protected by the government in theory, in practice their ‘status’ has been ambiguous, ...


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