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Plantation Forestry in Sub Saharan Africa: Silvicultural, Ecological and Economic Aspects

S.A.O Chamshama
F.O.C Nwonwu
B Lundgren
G.S Kowero


This paper discusses the potentials of meeting the wood demand and achieving SFM in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA)
through the establishment of forest plantations. The paper reviews forest plantation ownership and distribution
patterns in SSA and the factors –silvicultural, ecological, and economic that affect supply and demand for wood
at both domestic and international markets. The risk associated with investing in forest plantations and their
susceptibility to pest and disease attacks are highlighted. But with sound silvicultural practices these fears are
allayed. Ecological sustainability is in most situations ensured, but there are risks associated with burning logging
slash after harvesting. It is found that efficiency in plantation management and success in achieving sustainable
wood supply depends to a large extent on whether the plantations are owned and managed by the public or the
private sector. Many public sector managed plantations are poorly managed and not profit-oriented. They have
other environmental and social services and benefits as objectives. Many benefits from such activities are not easily
quantifiable in monetary terms and therefore cannot be used to determine the profitability of the plantations. Thus,
in financial analysis, most public sector owned and managed plantations are unprofitable and not economically
viable because these important benefits are excluded in the calculations. Private owned forest plantations are well
managed and aim at profit maximization and therefore integrate plantations to wood processing plants to improve
the form and value of wood and make the wood products more competitive in both domestic and export markets.
As a way forward, a number of actions are listed to ensure long-term viability of forest plantations in SSA.

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eISSN: 1015-079X