The Tragedy of Forestland Sustainability in Postcolonial Africa: Land Development, Cocoa, and Politics in Côte d’Ivoire
Citable Link (URL):http://resolver.sub.uni-goettingen.de/purl?gs-1/15734
Tropical countries are often blamed for not managing their natural resources sustainably. But what if overexploitation is inherent in political structures and policies—rooted in foreign colonial order—and is consistently detrimental in the contemporary use of forestlands? This article argues that post-colonial land development policies and related political interests seriously impede the sustainability of forest ecosystems in Côte d’Ivoire. Methodologically, the study builds on a historic contextualisation of forestland use policies in Sub-Saharan Africa, with Côte d’Ivoire serving as a case study. The results indicate that the increasing development of so-called rent crops clearly follows the historical dynamics of ‘land grabbing’ and a post-colonial agrarian model. This situation benefits agribusiness entrepreneurs and, more recently, sustainability standards. The study discusses the findings based on recent literature and empirical evidence. In conclusion, the post-colonial heritage and the manipulation of the related patterns by elites and policy-makers largely explains the present-day unsustainable forestland conversions in Côte d’Ivoire.