Voodoo, deeply rooted in nature, is practiced by around 11 percent of Benin’s 13 million people.
With deforestation rate exceeding 2 percent per year, these forests, regarded as the homes of spirits, are being lost at an alarming rate. From 2001 to 2012, roughly 45 percent of Benin’s sacred forests were lost or diminished, according to a local aid group. The group is now trying to save the remaining forests by making efforts to educate people about forest conservation and alternative ways to make a living.
Some residents blame government led development efforts for not consulting the locals before disrupting these sacred spaces. In response, the government has imposed restrictions on tree cutting and invested heavily in the culture and tourism sectors to indirectly support forest preservation.