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Guide to forest restoration and management in the Sahel based on case studies at the national forests of Guesselbodi and Gorou-Bassounga, Niger

by Portal Web Editor last modified Jan 10, 2013 09:11 AM
Contributors: John Heermans, Greg Minnick

Drawing from seven years of progress of project for Guesselbodi and Gorou-Bassounga National Forests in Niger, the authors were able to produce a detailed manual that can be used to establish restoration and management plans for other forests in the region. Descriptions of activities such as resource inventories, landform evaluations, erosion pattern analysis and vegetative mapping, among many others, are given in detail in order to serve as an instructional guide for planners. In the Sahel, drought, over-harvesting, desertification and human-initiated fires undermine forest resource sustainability. Villagers and nomadic herdsmen have extensive knowledge of local conditions and should participate actively in the development of a managed forest. Market analysis and inventories make management goals clear, and monitoring should be incorporated into the plan so that degradation that detracts from the goals can be detected early. These and other activities such as mapping, research, baseline studies, inventories, road planning, site preparation, development of work calendars, control of resource extraction, establishing checks and balances in enforcement, defining clear roles and responsibilities, and maintenance should be emphasized in management plans. Projects such as these should be developed such that they will continue after funding has ended. This will be assured in part if communities are trained to perform management, and if forests can pay their own way by producing sustainable and marketable products. Forest management projects should be treated as a business, with profits reinvested in the management of the forest. Project success also depends on community acceptance of projects, which is more likely if local people are involved in each phase.

Author(s): John Heermans , Greg Minnick

Publication Date: 1997

Location: Africa, Niger

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