Cocoa crops are destroying the forest reserves of the classified forest of Haut-Sassandra (Ivory Coast)

The aim of this study is to determine landscape dynamics in the classified forest of Haut-Sassandra (CFHS) during the periods of conflict in Ivory Coast (or Côte d’Ivoire). To achieve this, the land cover of this protected area was determined by classifying satellite images obtained before, during and after the conflicts, and via ground surveys. Metrics of landscape ecology were calculated. A ground campaign for observing the CFHS’s flora and damages incurred was carried out using a sampling of eighteen 500 m-long transects. The results show that forest fragmentation intensified during and after the period of conflicts. Forests covered over 93% of the CFHS’s area before conflicts and under 28% in 2015. The main cause of this deforestation is cacao growing. Anthropic activities caused the loss of 40% of plant species, including some which are endemic in Ivory Coast.

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