HTML Document Forest Conversion

Forest conversion is the removal of forest cover resulting in the modification of forest landscapes and loss of habitat and biodiversity.

Release date 14/08/2010
Contributor Kwesi Anderson

Loss of floral and faunal biodiversity may be attributed to factors including permanent conversion of natural forests into other land-use forms such as forest and agriculture monoculture plantations etc. Widespread conversion of natural forest lands into homogeneous stands tends to accelerate the natural succession process which ultimately results in the erosion of genetic materials. Significant habitat fragmentation and modification arising from such conversion may alter local environmental conditions that invariable determine the distribution of both fauna and flora. Though the establishment of commercial plantations may bring tremendous economic benefits to the nation, its impacts on biodiversity may be disastrous as indigenous species are outcompeted and displaced by fast-growing introduced species which do not have any natural control agents to hold their populations in check.

Similar observations have been made in relation to woody forest species where fast-growing exotics such as Leucaenia leucocephala, the gregarious neem tree, Azadirachta indica, etc., have spread vigorously throughout the savanna zones displacing virtually all indigenous plant species.

The same factors that account for the loss of plant biodiversity may result in decline and loss of animal biodiversity.