Inside the Vicious Cycle of Somalia’s Deforestation for Charcoal | Global Expansion

Men Mogadishu has seen a thriving charcoal trade in the city streets, fueled by skyrocketing gas prices over the past two years.As more Somalis turn to charcoal as an affordable energy option, experts say rising demand is spurring unsustainable levels of production and accelerating climate change within the country. say Worst drought in 40 years.

Environmentalists say the situation is dire in the Wanllawain district of the Lower Shovel region, a charcoal trading hub about 55 miles (90 km) northwest of the capital.

“The level of deforestation has become so severe that most of the trees along the banks of the Shovel River have been cut down.” Africa.

In the south of the country, extreme weather has disrupted the lives of many pastoralists and farmers, so they were looking for other ways to make money.

Hussein says environmental destruction is creating a vicious circle. “As people cut down more trees to meet their demand for charcoal, it is raining less and crops cannot grow, affecting farmers and livestock who depend on the land for their survival. I will,” he says.

A woman leads a donkey loaded with water from the shovel river. Most of the trees along the river banks were lost to the charcoal industry. Photo: Ilyas A. Abukar/Alamy

Mourid Jama used to be a farmer but turned to logging after the 2017 drought destroyed his crops. Jama says he sees 15 loggers out of about 10 logging trees in the Lower Shabelle forest on an average day. They spend his two to three months chopping down trees and felling trees until trucks arrive and take them to the outskirts of Mogadishu, where businessmen burn and sell the charcoal.

One logger, Hassan Omar, says it takes a whole day to cut down one tree. “They are about a century old,” he says. He says he has to move 50-60 km away from Wanrawane where he started logging. “We go from town to town and we go deeper into the woods,” he says.

The Lower Shovel is a volatile area, one of many areas in the country beyond the control of the Somali government, with no organized government-led efforts to limit logging.

The jihadist group al-Shabaab, which exercises control in some areas, has sought to expand its influence in recent years by playing a quasi-governmental role on issues such as environmental protection. In 2018, we banned single-use plastic bags and stepped up our efforts to crack down on the felling of lush trees. Islamist groups are relentlessly enforcing their policies.

“Some loggers have received threatening calls from al-Shabaab, others have been physically harmed,” says logger Guled Warsame. Despite the danger and harm to the environment, Warsame says he needs a job. “Al-Shabaab ordered us to stop cutting dead trees, but we can’t. That’s the only way we make money.”

Loggers say they have to travel farther to find suitable trees for felling.
Loggers say they have to travel farther to find suitable trees for felling. Photo: Faisal Hassan Abdi

But, he said, drivers transporting timber face a much greater threat than loggers by bandits and local militias. Not only do they work in dangerous conditions, they also need to stay aware of the evolving rules of the trade.

Dahir Abdallah, a lorry driver, said he was recently detained by al-Shabaab for several days while transporting dry timber, but was eventually released. He believes the group may be starting a crackdown on logging and the transportation of timber from dry trees, but so far the only clear ban is on timber from trees with leaves. It states that it is logging and transportation.

“We only pick up dry wood in our trucks and never leafy trees because al-Shabaab does not allow it. If they do, they’ll set our cars on fire,” he says.

Despite the crackdown, reports indicate that trading income remains an important source of income for al-Shabaab. Estimates for 2014 The group suggests they made between £6.5m and £14.5m a year in total just by charging charcoal traders for just one road block.

The dried wood is piled up and fired to make charcoal.
The dried wood is piled up and fired to make charcoal. Photo: Faisal Hassan Abdi

For those in business, fees add significantly to operating costs. Two businesswomen, Amina Mohamed and Saynab Hersi, declined to give details of how much they would pay the group because of the sensitivity of the matter, but they said the truck would move through major cities and districts. It says it faces double taxation from the government. From Al Shabab when traveling in the countryside.

However, even with the commission, dealers say they are making enough profit to keep the deal going. Yasmin Salad, who has been in the business for eight years, says she makes a profit of 1.8 million Somali shillings (£2,600) for every 510 bags of charcoal.

Environmentalists say government involvement is necessary to effectively regulate trade. “The public needs more environmental education and it needs to start at an early age,” Hussain said, adding that laws and regulations on environmental development are needed. “These laws and regulations need to be enforced by governments to see change.”

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Inside the Vicious Cycle of Somalia’s Deforestation for Charcoal | Global Expansion

Source link Inside the Vicious Cycle of Somalia’s Deforestation for Charcoal | Global Expansion

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