Forests and wildlife play a significant role in the lives of African people. For many, forests and forest products are inextricably linked with livelihoods and revenue generation. They are recognized for their ability to protect water supplies, and they even play a prominent role in many cultural and spiritual traditions. In addition, some of the world's most spectacular and unique wildlife-like the lemur in Madagascar, the endangered mandrill in the Congo Basin, and the impalas of Lake Manyara-depend on forests for their home and survival.
Africa 's forests, however, are threatened by slash and burn agriculture, desertification, illegal logging and bushmeat hunting. In many parts of Africa, this forest loss is continuing at an alarming rate, threatening the people and the wildlife that depend on such valuable resources.
For a number of years, the US Forest Service has worked in Africa to address these threats and promote sustainable forest management. Working with many African land management agencies, the US Forest Service focuses on building local capacity on the continent to improve natural resources management. The agency taps upon its expertise to promote the principles of sustainable use of natural resources, land-use planning, and biodiversity conservation. From Mali to Madagascar, the US Forest Service and its in-country partners work on various technical issues, including forest concession management, land-use planning, watershed management, development of information systems for decision making, and protected area management through training, policy reform and other forms of technical assistance in order to advance sustainability of natural resources in Africa and across the globe.