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close this bookSustaining the Future. Economic, Social, and Environmental Change in Sub-Saharan Africa (UNU, 1996, 365 p.)
View the documentNote to the reader from the UNU
close this folderPreface
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentBackground
View the documentRegional environmental futures
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View the documentOpening address by the Hon. Minister of Environment, Science and Technology
close this folderIntroduction
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentEconomy and society: Development issues
View the documentEnvironmental issues and futures
View the documentEnvironment and resource management
View the documentInstitutional issues
View the documentEnvironment and development in Ghana
View the documentRecommendations
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close this folderPart 1: Economy and society: development issues
close this folderPoverty, vulnerability, and rural development
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentThe nature of poverty
View the documentRural poverty and development in Sub-Saharan Africa
View the documentAspects of economy and society in SS Africa
View the documentVulnerability
View the documentPoverty and economic reform
View the documentConclusion
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close this folderEnvironmental management and social equity
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentThe key notions
View the documentThe political-economic context of contemporary environmental management
View the documentSocial equity and environmental management: Some examples
View the documentThe way forward
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close this folderIntroduction to population, resources, and sustainable development in Sub-Saharan Africa
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentInternal and international migration
View the documentNatural resources
View the documentHuman resources
View the documentPopulation, agricultural land, and food supply
View the documentPopulation, economy, and sustainable development
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close this folderUrbanization and industrialization: What future for Sub-Saharan Africa?
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentThe continuing rapid rate and scale of urbanization
View the documentThe urban environment
View the documentThe limitations of industrialization
View the documentThe impact of structural adjustment
View the documentSub-Saharan Africa as the global periphery
View the documentImplications for urbanization and industrialization
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close this folderUrban environmental management and issues in Africa south of the Sahara
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentThe process of urbanization in Sub-Saharan Africa
View the documentThe nature of environmental problems
View the documentCauses of the current problems
View the documentThe way forward
View the documentConcluding remarks
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close this folderPart 2: Environmental issues and futures
close this folderTowards sustainable environmental and resource management futures in Sub-Saharan Africa
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentThe concept of sustainable development and its implications
View the documentDriving forces
View the documentLevels of environmental effects of human activities and sustainability concerns
View the documentConstraints on sustainable development in Sub-Saharan Africa
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close this folderDrought, desertification, and water management in Sub-Saharan Africa
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentDroughts in Sub-Saharan Africa and their implications for planning and development
View the documentDesertification
View the documentLand degradation and management of soil and water
View the documentConclusion
View the documentAcknowledgements
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close this folderTropical deforestation and its impact on soil, environment, and agricultural productivity
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentTRF and its conversion
View the documentSoils of the TRF ecosystem
View the documentForest conversion and soil productivity
View the documentDeforestation and the emission of radiatively active gases
View the documentDeforestation and hydrological balance
View the documentSustainable use of the TRF ecosystem
View the documentResearch needs
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close this folderThe coastal zone and oceanic problems of Sub-Saharan Africa
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View the documentIntroduction
View the documentThe value of the coastal zone and oceans
View the documentThe main problems and their causes
View the documentRemedies
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close this folderPart 3: Environment and resource management
close this folderAgricultural development in the age of sustainability: Crop production
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentThe ecological zones of Sub-Saharan Africa
View the documentGeneral crop production constraints and potentials for overcoming them
View the documentTechnologies with potential for sustainable resource management
View the documentWomen's underexploited potential
View the documentSuggested approaches to sustainable production
View the documentSummary
View the documentConclusions
View the documentAcknowledgements
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close this folderAgricultural development in the age of sustainability: Livestock production
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentLivestock production, productivity, and feed resources
View the documentThe effect of government policy on livestock production
View the documentSuggested solutions
View the documentSummary and conclusions
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close this folderThe fuelwood/energy crisis in Sub-Saharan Africa
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentPopulation and environmental concerns
View the documentThe primary energy sector in Sub-Saharan Africa
View the documentProblems of the energy sector in Sub-Saharan Africa
View the documentThe socio-economic implications of the fuelwood crisis
View the documentStrategies to combat the fuelwood crisis Strategies to combst the fuelwood crisis
View the documentNew and renewable energy development
View the documentConclusion
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close this folderThe case for mineral resources management and development in Sub-Saharan Africa
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close this folderPart 4: Institutional issues
close this folderModes of international and regional research cooperation
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentThe global change programmes
View the documentNetworking
View the documentEnvironmental governance
View the documentOutlook
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close this folderNational, regional, and international cooperation for sustainable environmental and resource management: The place and roles of NGOs
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentInformation sharing
View the documentPartnerships with other institutions
View the documentDialogues with governmental and industry organs
View the documentLinking with policy institutions
View the documentWorking with monitoring institutions for effective implementation and accountability
View the documentConclusion
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close this folderPart 5: Environment and development in Ghana
close this folderInstitutional issues on the environment and resource management with reference to Ghana
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentEarly developments
View the documentThe Stockholm Conference and after
View the documentThe Environmental Action Plan (EAP)
View the documentInstitutional problems and issues
View the documentThe implementation of the Environmental Action Plan
View the documentConclusion
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close this folderThe environmental impact and sustainability of plantations in Sub-Saharan Africa: Ghana's experiences with oil-palm plantations
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentOverview of the plantation system in the Sub-Sahara
View the documentThe evolution of plantations in Ghana
View the documentThe positive impacts of the plantations
View the documentAdverse environmental impacts and sustainability
View the documentConclusion
View the documentReferences
View the documentContributors

Summary and conclusions

The demand for food of animal origin is growing much faster than production because of better health education, higher income per capita, and ever-increasing population growth. Yet, owing to the application of Structural Adjustment Programmes, many African countries are poorer than before and livestock products are beyond the reach of the ordinary person. Many governments in Sub-Saharan Africa will face serious problems in terms of food self-sufficiency and food security if immediate and adequate measures for sustainability are not taken.

The two most important resource bases in livestock production are the animals and the range land on which they depend for survival. The genetics of the various species of animals and plants and their interaction within a given ecological zone form the basis of their productiveness or otherwise. The ability to maintain the pace of economic development from these resource bases (since they are governed by external factors, e.g. climate, social, cultural, and economic status of herdspeople) is the focus of the concept of sustainability. However, for any given system one may wish to sustain more than one aspect of the system. For example, in livestock systems, genetic considerations may be just as important in the tropical environment as the feed resource base, in which case conflict can arise. Again, the concept of sustainability without consideration of social objectives or goals is meaningless in terms of future economic development. The herd owners' social objectives may not tally with the government policy objective in that the herd owners may be more interested in maximizing the numbers of their stock whereas the government objective may be sedentarization of the herd owners in order to be able to increase the productivity of the animal per unit area using available technologies in animal husbandry, including nutrition and herd health management. Sustaining a given subset of a system therefore needs to be taken more seriously while thinking of overall future economic development gains.

Ruminants have a greater effect on ecosystems than other animal species. They are numerous and provide substantial quantities of animal protein. However, their production is based on age-old husbandry systems, which need to be gradually modified in order to meet the needs of consumers. A reduction of animal numbers in accordance with the resource capability of the land is essential. The various governments in Sub-Saharan Africa must try to achieve this through legislation and inducement packages. In addition, the sedentarization of nomads and the acquisition of land (i.e. a change in land tenure systems) can greatly increase the adaptation and use of new techniques in animal production systems.

The present poor system of livestock production of the majority of herd/flock owners should not be a deterrent to exploring future possibilities. In this context, therefore, one could stress the need to "domesticate" the environment so that it can cope with the production effort, especially for monogastrics. The alleviation of environmental stress through genetic improvement, hormonal regulation, feed intake, and control will be an important consideration for future needs.

Research into optimum environments for livestock will need to be addressed; for example, poultry houses with relative humidity, temperature, etc. controlled to make them conducive to rearing have led to higher output in Europe, the USA, and other countries. Comfort, productivity, and the economics of poultry and swine production will be the rule rather than the exception even in tropical environments. These are to be achieved through environmental control and animal welfare considerations.

Owing to space constraints, I have not considered the role of wild life in the preservation of ecosystems in this paper. They form part of Africa's cherished biodiversity and their significant role in the supply of bush meat, especially to rural people, needs no emphasis. However, with intensive hunting for game, they are declining in number, and the present number of herbivorous species is not a threat to the ecosystem. Destruction by bush fire and the cutting down of young and old trees for firewood or the clearing of dense natural forests for agriculture pose more threat to the system and should be regulated for future animal protein production.

Government assistance through research and the development of specialist skills, e.g. range management, pasture expertise, and animal science, is of paramount importance to ensure future economic growth and development in the livestock sector if Sub-Saharan Africa is to meet the challenges of the future.