10 largest forest covers in Eastern Africa

By , K24 Digital
On Wed, 26 Jul, 2023 01:00 | 3 mins read
Mau forest. PHOTO/Print
Mau forest. PHOTO/Print

1. DRC

The Democratic Republic of the Congo concentrated the largest forest area in Africa, around 311.3 million acres, which is 55.6 per cent forest cover.

The Congo basin is home to one of the world’s largest tropical rainforests and is only second to the Amazon. It stretches across six African countries both in central and West Africa.

It is famous for its gorillas, chimpanzees and has a native population of forest dwellers known as pygmies.

2. Tanzania

According to the World Bank collection indicators report , Tanzania was reported to have 51.64 per cent of forest cover, which is roughly 112.9 million acres.

Its forested area slightly declined from 114.1 million acres in the previous year, a downward trend observed since 2015. That year, forests covered 118.6 million acres of Tanzania’s territory.

The Miombo woodlands is the largest forest and the most extensive woodland areas in Tanzania covering a large part of the hinterland from the coastal area with more than 49.4 million acres.

3. Ethiopia

According to official data forest area covers 15.7 per cent of the total land area. In 2018, the country revised their National Forest Law, which clearly recognises the rights of communities and acknowledges their role in managing natural forests and establishing plantations, without unduly compromising ecological services or biodiversity.

The Harenna Forest is one of the few remaining natural forests in the country, and the largest and is known for its native plants, birds, mammals, amphibians as well as many other endemic species.

4. Uganda

Forest area in Uganda was reported at 11.66 per cent based on the World Bank collection of development indicators.

Uganda’s National Forestry Authority is mandated to manage all 506 Central Forest Reserves in Uganda, which are part of the protected areas of Uganda.

Budongo forest is considered as the biggest mahogany forest in the entire East Africa and the reserve lies in the southern extension of Murchison falls National Park, which is considered the largest national park Uganda has covering over 3,840 km2. The forest is also home to largest number of chimpanzees all over Uganda.

5. South Sudan

With a forest cover of 11.3 per cent South Sudan is well endowed with diverse natural forests and woodlands, with an estimated total area of 191.667 km2, taking up about 30 per cent of total land area.

South Sudan is well endowed with diverse natural forests and Woodlands which shows that out of South Sudan land area (approximately 664,000 km2) some 208.2 thoursand km2 (33per cent ) is covered by trees and another 257.157 km2 (40 per cent) of land area is covered by shrubs.

6. Burundi

Forest area in Burundi was reported at 10.89 per cent. There are three national parks in Burundi; Kibira National Park is 40,000 hectares (99,000 acres) in size and comprises the country’s largest rainforest and borders Rwanda’s Nyungwe National Park.

7. Sudan

Forest area in Sudan was reported at 9.82 per cent in 2020, according to the World Bank collection of development indicators.

The productive forest extends below the zone of desert encroachment to the nation’s southern borders. It includes the savannah woodlands of the central and western parts of the country, which are dominated by various species of acacia, among them Acacia Senegal, the principal source of gum Arabic.

8. Somali

It possesses 9.5 per cent forest cover. In 2020, forest area for Somalia was 59,800 km2. Somalia fell gradually from 74,383 km2 in 2001 to 59,800 km2. Forests cover 12 per cent of Somalia’s land area, but only four per cent of the land has dense tree stands.

Somalia is one of the few areas in the world where frankincense is produced; incense trees of the genus Boswellia are found in the northeast. Gum Arabic in small quantities is also produced.

9. Eritrea

Forest area in Eritrea was reported at 8.71 per cent according to the World Bank collection of development indicators. It is the perennial droughts that affect Eritrea which has made the government make efforts to regreen the country.

According to the World Bank, 75 per cent of the population still lives on rain-fed agriculture and vegetation plays an essential role in maintaining ecosystems. In addition to sheltering wildlife, it regulates the water cycle.

Thus, following its independence in 1991, Eritrea embarked on a vast reforestation program at the end of which nearly 27 million trees were planted.

10. Kenya

Kenya’s forests are fragmented across the country. Combined, forests cover over 37 million hectares. Out of those 91.4 million acres, 5.1 million acres are woodlands, 61.2 million acres are bushlands and 26.4 million acres are wooded grasslands.

According to the report, counties in the top 10 tier of tree coverage were Nyeri (45 per cent), Lamu (44 per cent) Kirinyaga (30.3 per cent), Elgeyo Marakwet (29.9 per cent, and Meru (29.6 per cent). Mau Forest is East Africa’s largest native montane forest and Kenya’s largest water catchment area.

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