Africa’s vanishing forests

You see that coconut tree?” said Daniel Krakue, gesturing out beyond the windshield. “That used to be a village.” It wasn’t hard to see the tree. Apart from a skinny papaya trunk, it was the only thing rising from the surrounding sea of green. We were in Sinoe County, in southwestern Liberia, on a plantation run by a company called Golden Veroleum (GVL). For miles around there was nothing growing but baby palms, whose lime-colored fronds were about as wide, some three feet or so, as they were high. Earlier we’d driven through large expanses freshly cleared of their native vegetation, weird deserts of orange mud interrupted only by the corrugated wakes of the ubiquitous giant yellow earthmovers. The company has been in operation in Liberia only since 2009. And the 543,000-acre lease it signed with the government runs for 65 years, with an option for a 33-year extension, so GVL is just getting started. http://www.farmlandgrab.org/post/view/22881-africa-s-vanishing-forests#sthash.0NrNmA4o.dpuf

Golden Veroleum workers cram onto a tractor-drawn flatbed on their way to plant and water the fields in Liberia.

 

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