The Cavally region has an area of about 11,300 km2. The population in 2014 was 459,964 (2014 General Population and Housing Census (RGPH)) and is estimated to be 550,000 today with the return of some exiles.
The climate is warm and humid tropical with abundant and regular rainfall resulting in lush vegetation favorable to agriculture. The hydrography is composed of the Cavally River and other large rivers including the N'zo, Douihi, N'zé, Niyon and Goin.
The Tai National Park is composed of primary forest and has an area of 5,300 km2. The Tai Forest is classified by UNESCO world heritage. Other classified forests include the GOIN-DEBE forest (1,331 km2), the CAVALLY forest (642 km2), the SCIO Forest Reserve (880 km2).
The primary economic sector in the region is agriculture. Due to the abundant forest vegetation and the fertility of the land, the economy of the region is based on agriculture including cash crops, food crops, and logging. The extractive industry is also developing for ore. However, since the arrival of rubber manufacturers including CHC, SOGB, and TRCI, rubber growing has been widely practiced in the region and could supplant coffee and cocoa.
Apart from the Tai National Park, protected areas in the Cavally Region are experiencing a high rate of degradation due to human activity, including the practice of agriculture, hunting, and gold panning in parks and reserves. The Cavally Regional Council, in conjunction with State structures responsible for the supervision of Parks and Reserves, is carrying out sensitization and repression measures against the occupants of the classified forests. A partnership was also woven with the NGO WCF to raise awareness about the usefulness of forest classes and their preservation.
The main drivers of deforestation in the Cavally region are the expansion of agriculture to 60% of the economy (cocoa farming, rubber growing and other cash crops included), infrastructure development (16%), and bush fires (14%). In terms of degradation, illegal logging is the most important driver identified (at 41%), followed by the preponderance of bush fires and wood energy exploitation.
Direct drivers of deforestation are reinforced by demographic factors including migration and natural population increases and by political factors (political crises and weak application of existing legislation). The drivers of deterioration are exacerbated by the weak application of the legal texts in force but also by the economic attractiveness and the demands for products (agricultural and forestry) on the national market.