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Why clearing forests for farming may not solve 'hidden hunger'

People in the villages surrounding Ndélélé in Cameroon cannot afford many of the foods sold in the market, so to supplement themselves they rely on the eru leaf and insects gathered from the forest nearby. In the early 2000s, this caught the attention of Amy Ickowitz, a scientist doing her dissertation research in the area. "I was struck by how well-fed people were despite extreme poverty," said Ickowitz. "The children seemed very well nourished in comparison to other places where I had traveled."   More than a decade later, she and a team of scientists from the Center for International Forestry Research used her initial observation to study how living near forests affected nutrition in 21 African countries.   They found a correlation between children's nutrition and how close they lived to areas with tree cover. Although their work is the first of its kind and the findings are preliminary, the researchers suggest that living near forests may mean a more varied diet—one that provides essential nutrients. If th

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Terry Sunderland
Last update : August 2013, |
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