A delicate ecosystem was disrupted in the Comoros, off East Africa, when forests were cleared to make way for farmland. The consequences offer lessons for other parts of the developing world. The island, part of the nation of the Comoros off the East African coast, receives more annual rainfall than most of Europe. But a combination of deforestation and climate change has caused at least half of its permanent rivers to stop flowing in the dry season. With dwindling crop returns and farms being divided into smaller and smaller plots with each generation, tens of thousands of people have left their villages in the Comoros to look for work elsewhere. Anjouan, in particular, has become a major departure point for migrants in the archipelago trying to reach the nearby French island territory of Mayotte. The population of the Comoros has more than doubled since 1980, to just under one million people, putting pressure on its forests. After gaining independence from France in 1975, the country experienced one of the world’s fastest rates of deforestation.
SOURCE: THE NEW YORK TIMES