Reforestation in Senegal
About the country
Senegal has a population of over 15 million, about 46 percent of whom live in rural areas and covers a land area of almost 197,000 km2.
Ranking 164 on 188 countries on the human development scale, Senegal is a major recipient of international development assistance with close to$1 bio in 2016. It is considered a high priority country for the Luxembourg Ministry of Cooperation.
Senegal has a quasi democratic political culture, perhaps one of the most successful post-colonial democratic transitions in Africa.
The landscape consists mainly of the sandy plains of the western Sahel. It is assumed that Sahara keeps on progressing south at a rate of 48 Km per year, covering 9,200,000 Km2 across the whole continent.
Among the causes, greenhouse effect plays a significant role, but human activity further amplifies the phenomenon. Indeed, unsustainable farming and deforestation by a population growing at a rate of 3% per year is an aggravating factor.
Extensive agriculture during the rain season is further preventing natural reforestation. Additionally, the local population uses firewood for cooking thereby adding more pressure to the depleted forests, increasing their poverty and the desertification process.
The purpose of the project is to restore degraded environment by providing logistics, training and assistance to the population in 5 villages in a sustainable reforestation project, to restore the woods, providing for the needs of the community in fuel and timber, combined with training and environmental educational activities. Durability is ensured by appropriation of the population with the provision of means to develop revenue generating activities focusing on women to avoid or reduce rural exodus, and then, use benefits and surpluses to maintain infrastructure.
Activities developed consist in the setting up of tree nurseries, to restore woods around 5 villages over 18ha, and fight desertification. This is completed with assisted natural forest regeneration in another 25 villages over 125ha. This technique is the protection and preservation of natural tree seedlings in selected areas against agriculture, cattle and undergrowth. It serves as a cheaper alternative to reforesting due to decreased nursery and irrigation needs.
To ensure durability, the project is completed with the provision to the targeted population with ways of developing economic activities by setting up millet mills and shredders, chicken and vegetable farms and promoting exchange on local markets. Women are involved on a parity basis, receiving education on management and organization of environmentally and economically oriented activities thereby decreasing their dependence on men.
To optimize the use of firewood, we have introduced clay stoves in all houses of the community replacing the “3 stones” fireplace and reducing consumption by 80%, further easing women’s workload.
Eventually, as there is almost no system for disposing of the high volume of waste, which is eventually disseminated around the village, a sanitation program is being put in place, encompassing waste collection using a system of donkey pulled carts, further to the cleaning of the current dump sites and implementation of a managed landfill with basic waste sorting and recycling.
In cooperation with SOS Sahel International Luxembourg : www.sossahel.lu