Thursday, June 12, 2008

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Yamba Berté Forest Reserve

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The Yamba Berté Forest Reserve in southwestern Chad is made up of critical gallery forests, pristine woodlands, and a network of small lakes and swamps. The dense forest includes trees that can grow as tall as 35 m. The reserve is important habitat for gazelles, monkeys, warthogs, giraffe, elephants, and the rare giant eland (Taurotragus derbianus).

Yamba Berté is located in a zone of savannah woodland that stretches across southern Chad and also supports a dense human population and most of the country's agriculture. The introduction of cotton in the 1930s and draft animals in the 1950s supported a large increase in agriculture. During the drought years (1968, 1972-1973, 1983-1984) large numbers of people migrated to the area because of its higher rainfall and the economic opportunity of its larger cities. In addition to subsistence crops such as maize, millet, and sorghum, the area is ideal for growing cotton and groundnuts, which are the two primary cash crops.

The 1986 image shows agriculture around Yamba Berté, including some encroachment on the reserve area. The second image, captured 15 years later, shows dramatically increased agriculture around the reserve and several areas where the reserve boundary has been breeched. The high-resolution image (image below) shows the detail in one area of encroachment.
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