Towards regreening West Africa
During February, ELD Secretariat member Silke Schwedes organized and guided three kick-off workshops in the framework of the EU-funded “ReGreening Africa”-Project in Senegal, Mali and Niger. The aim of these workshops was to bring involved and interested stakeholders together and to introduce them to the project and its components, which are led by ELD and ICRAF respectively. The ELD component focusses on cost benefit analysis as well as capacity building on how to assess land based ecosystem services.
The workshops were attended by representatives of the EU delegations, ministries and research institutions. Potential study areas and study topics were discussed. Below you can find the main outcomes. All of them still need to be concretized.
Regarding the study sites and focus subjects, the workshop participants decided that the study focus should be on the hotspot and brightspot areas identified during the LND process (Thiès-groundnut basin, with extractive industries being an issue), Kolda (forestry zone, with a lot of deforestation) and Louga (sylvo-pastoral zone with reforestation efforts).
As ELD study site, Koutiala area in Sikassou was chosen. Koutiala is a land degradation hotspot, after having been an intensive cotton production area for decades.
Regarding a future ELD study, the working group decided the study to focus on the five major SLM methods applied in Niger, which are farmer-managed natural regeneration, semi-circular bunds (half-moons), contour bunds, Zai (tassa planting pits) and dune fixation. Ideally, these five methods will be evaluated in all the three climate zones of Niger; but the study might also focus on areas where data is available. Ecosystem services will be identified and their impacts on short-, medium and long-time evaluated. The study objective is to inform policy makers on investment returns in SLM methods.