Ashes, Ivory Coast – Yann Arthus-Bertrand Photography
In the Northeast of the Ivory Coast, where there is a lot of shrubby savannah and woodland, this tree brought down by wind or by lightning burnt slowly after a bush fire. These fires started by populations living in the savannah, whether they be sedentary farmers or stock breeders who migrate seasonally, clear the undergrowth of up to 30 percent of the savannah area every year. After the flames have passed, the ash acts as a natural fertilizer and stimulates the rapid regeneration of pasture and fodder plants. Moreover, as the high grasses are eliminated, it is easier to find and corner game. These fires do not add to the country’s deforestation (one of the highest rate in Africa with 3.1 percent of forests gobbled up every year). If they are set too early, they destroy crops but if they start too late during the dry season, they can turn into more intense fires and severely attack and destroy the trees.