Located in the Ziguichor region of Senegal, the project aims to enhance abandoned or degraded land through reforestation and thus restore biodiversity. 2022 will be the test phase with the planting of 100,000 trees on non-agricultural land in agroforestry and mangrove areas.
The project at a glance
- Number of trees to be planted: 1 000 000 trees
- Species planted: Red mangrove, African locust bean, African mahogany, Weda, Guinea plum, Cashew sp., Palm oil tree, Silk cotton tree, Snapdragon tree, African mesquite and Eucalyptus sp.
- Type of project: Reforestation and Mangroves
- Planting period: between February 2022 and February 2023
Context of the project
The region of Ziguinchor, located in southern Senegal between Gambia and Guinea-Bissau, is marked by a strong erosion of its biodiversity to which the armed conflicts of the 1980s and the demographic explosion have contributed. In addition to this environmental disaster, the salinization of the land, i.e. the accumulation of salts with a high sodium content in the soil at levels that are toxic for fauna, flora and fungi, has led to the massive abandonment of this land. The result is a massive abandonment of these lands which become progressively infertile and evolve towards bare and sterile spaces, unfit for any agricultural activity. This natural phenomenon is aggravated by climate change and the retreat of the region's forests, including the mangrove ecosystems that border the Casamance River.
In this context, Reforest'Action is partnering with Karamba and BIOECO to develop a multidimensional project, which aims to reforest degraded lands, develop agroforestry and restore mangrove areas, with the objective of eventually increasing the forest cover around the communes of Kataba, Diouloulou and Kafountine, and thus contribute to the restoration of soil and biodiversity. Regenerative, the project will restore natural ecosystems while generating an additional social and economic impact for local communities who live mainly from agriculture, fishing, livestock and forest resources.
Actions in the field
Our partners train local producers to include trees as an integral component of their agriculture through the creation of agroforestry systems. Fruit trees, such as cashew and guinea plum, are planted in agroforestry on farmers' plots to protect the underlying crops and to provide local people with additional income from the sale of their fruits and seeds. Fast-growing species such as Senegalese rosewood are also planted to provide communities with a wood resource and avoid cutting down existing forests.
Expanding forest cover and restoring mangroves
The Ziguinchor region is marked by the abandonment of land that has been rendered unfit for any agricultural activity due to salinization. By enriching natural forests that have been degraded by deforestation and reintroducing endemic and rare tree species to abandoned plots, the project aims to restore soil and biodiversity. The return of a forest cover will allow in the medium term to restore the herbaceous carpet and to reconstitute grazing areas for the cattle. Restoration of mangroves will increase the supply of wood, thereby reducing pressure on existing forests.
Integrating and training local communities
The inhabitants of Kataba, Diouloulou and Kafountine are involved in the preparation of the land to be reforested, the planting and maintenance of the planted trees of which they are owners. They benefit directly from the trees in terms of energy wood and fruit production. At the same time, training programs in agroecosystem preservation techniques are deployed with local farmers. Farmers are also trained in Assisted Natural Regeneration (ANR) techniques such as identifying natural regrowth and protecting them with sheaths against livestock and bush fires.
Benefits of the project
The trees planted in agroforestry will protect the underlying crops in the long term and provide local populations with new sources of income from the sale of tree products. The fast-growing species planted in agroforestry will also provide new wood resources for local communities, thus helping to regulate the uncontrolled cutting of existing forests.
The species planted, chosen for their resistance to the meteorological conditions of the region as well as to the hazards due to global warming, will allow to:
- enriching soils and preventing soil erosion
- retain water and preserve natural springs
- attract pollinating insects, essential to the health of various ecosystems and crops.
Economically and socially, this plantation project will:
- contribute to the creation of new value chains around forest products
- help prevent deforestation practices through awareness-raising activities with local communities to promote sustainable forest management.
- provide employment opportunities for local populations. They will be fully involved in the planting and maintenance of the trees planted. Training programs in ecosystem preservation techniques are deployed within the territories concerned by the project.