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Africa Could Lose 30 Percent of Its Plants and Animals by 2100



For VOA Learning English, this is the Agriculture Report.

Climate researchers met recently in Cameroon to talk about threats to Africa’s land and animals. They said they believe the continent may lose as much as 30 percent of its animal and plant species by the end of this century. They blame the losses on the warming of the Earth, population growth and unrestricted development.

The researchers represent 20 African, American and European universities. They say countries south of the Saharan Desert are losing forest faster than any place on Earth. Wood companies are cutting down trees to meet growing demand from China, Europe and the United States. The population is growing three percent each year. There are now homes, factories and farms on land that once was forest. Many African animals and plants no longer have a place to live as a result. Climate change also continues to threaten species.

Thomas Smith is with the University of California. He says Africa may lose 40 percent of its mammal species because of expected rises in temperatures. The African chimpanzee is among the mammals at risk. Mary Katherine Gonder is a professor at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She studies chimpanzees in the Congo Basin. She says their forest home is disappearing. She also says hunters continue to kill the animals to sell as food. The researchers say it is important to develop environmentally friendly economies. The Congo Basin area of western and central Africa has the second-largest equatorial rain forest in the world. It is important to the lives of millions of people.

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