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Defence and Space

Airbus Logo

Defence and Space

Airbus Logo

Defence and Space

SPOT, 1,5m resolution satellite imagery- Cavally Forest, Ivory Coast

Regenerating the Cavally Forest in Ivory Coast

SPOT, 1,5m resolution satellite imagery- Cavally Forest, Ivory Coast

The Cavally Forest Reserve is one of the last intact forest reserves in Ivory Coast, the world’s top producer of cocoa. Most of this cocoa is grown by small farmers, and Ivory Coast has lost a significant amount of forests trying to meet global chocolate demand. In 1960, there were about 12 million hectares of forests in the country. Today, close to 75 percent of that has been cleared, according to the World Bank.

Even though their country forms the backbone of the $100 billion global chocolate industry, farmers in Ivory Coast remain poorly paid for their cocoa. This makes it increasingly likely that they clear more land to keep up with ever-increasing demand for chocolate. In the Cavally Forest, neighbouring communities inadvertently plant cocoa under the forest canopy within the reserve. The challenge for the SODEFOR, the state forest management agency, was how to detect cocoa planted under the canopy in a timely manner.

Workers planting trees in Cavally Forest, Ivory Coast
Our solution

Using Starling’s high resolution satellite and radar images, and regular forest clearance alerts, SODEFOR was able to target their patrolling efforts across the 67,600-hectare forest reserve. This led to an 83 percent decrease in deforestation between the second quarter of 2018 and the second quarter of 2019. We are now working on a way to reforest degraded land within the reserve and grow trees along the border to establish clear boundaries between forests and farms.

The Cocoa Beneath

The cocoa beneath



While field visits show that former plantations are now being replaced by the forest, any long-lasting solution needs to include the local communities. This is why we are going to help the surrounding communities map their lands, and study alternative sources of income to reduce the pressure to clear forests and help those who have lost their crops.

Watch our video, The Cocoa Beneath, to find out more about how technology is playing a vital role in protecting the Cavally Forest.

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Organisation involved

Earthworm Foundation is a non-profit organisation driven by the desire to positively impact the relationship between people and nature. With most of our staff operating directly on the ground where the issues are, we work with our member companies and partners to make value chains an engine to drive positive economic, environmental and social impact. 

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