Each of the preceding chapters has raised key issues and challenges concerning the importance and management of African dry forests and woodlands and the products and services that they provide. In planning for dry forest and woodland management for the future, it is crucial to learn from the past, including learning from anthropogenic effects (Bird and Cali, 1998). Hoffman (1997) claims that historic anthropogenic influences, through the demand for wood for iron smelting, have been a lot more extensive than previously accepted. In addition, Huffman (1982), Hall (1984) and Schmidt and Avery (1996), working on Iron Age archaeological sites, have confirmed that vast amounts of wood were used, most of which was extracted from surrounding forests and woodlands. Domestic livestock, in particular cattle and sheep, evidence of whose existence dates back to the 1st century AD, have also been mentioned as agents of dry forest and woodland change in Africa (Tlou and Campbell, 1997; Campbell and Ramsay, 1994; Denbow and Wilmsen, 1989; Garlake, 1978). Further, cycles of abandonment and settlement as well as slash and burn correspond to deforestation and reforestation in Africa (Schmidt and Avery, 1996; Goucher, 1981). These are a few but key examples that show how strongly African dry forests and woodlands were influenced by human activities over thousands of years
ago; and the intensity of which has increased many fold in the last century as human and livestock populations grew, mines and road infrastructure were developed and cities expanded through rapid urbanization.