SENEGAL: Protection and sustainable exploitation of forests

Sustainable development of rural areas faced with the challenges of climate change and deforestation

Budget €214,000
Duration 4 years
Financing AWAC, the city of Brussels
Main target group
  • 27 village committees, 3 intervillage committees
  • 15 Economic Interest Groups (EIGs) of forest product producers and processors
  • Women producers and consumers of bio-coal
Indirect beneficiaries 15,000 inhabitants of the 27 villages surrounding the Nemabah, Djilor and Sagako forests
Implementation Ulb-Coopération, NebedayAPAF

The region of Fatick, 155 km (around 96 miles) from Dakar, has a forest area that is subject to looting and exploitation. In order to eliminate the risk of it disappearing completely, local authorities have classified it as a protected area. However, these forests are the only source of income and energy for the local population. How can these resources be exploited in a sustainable way? How can we make sure the forest is used sensibly, without depriving the populations of their resources?

A sustainable approach

In this context of poverty, drought and deforestation, our objective is to contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation by fighting deforestation. The aim is to reforest by making rational, optimal and sustainable use of forest biomass for the benefit of neighbouring populations. This is done in association with local partners who have a good understanding of the terrain and the surrounding socio-economic context (in particular APAF – Association for the promotion of fertile trees, agroforestry and forestry).

How do we do it?

Firstly, our experts carry out inventories of all forest resources and introduce the possibility of exploiting non-wood forest products (edible nuts, mushrooms, fruits, herbs, leaves, spices, condiments, aromatic plants, honey, fibre resins, gums, etc.).

The forest is then divided into harvesting zones. These zones are exploited in an alternate manner, thus allowing part of the forest to rest while it regenerates, in order to avoid endangering the viability and sustainability of the whole.

Straw charcoal production: an innovative alternative

Access to electricity and gas is very limited in this region of Senegal (due to a lack of financial means and/or infrastructure), so the populations use charcoal as their main source of energy. This is one of the causes of the excessive exploitation of forest wood; in response, ULB-Cooperation and its partner Nebeday are developing the manufacture of straw-based  charcoal, a sustainable, viable and innovative alternative.



Inclusion of beneficiary populations in our development projects

An essential aspect of our projects is the participation of beneficiary populations in our offers to affect change. To this end, we set up village and inter-village committees, thus promoting the appropriation of new forestry management methods and improving the sustainability of the system.

This €214,000 project, financed by AWAC (Walloon Air and Climate Agency) and the City of Brussels, enables the sustainable exploitation of more than 6,000 m2 (around 6.5 acres) of Senegalese forest.

* Biomass: all organic matter of plant or animal origin.
* Sustainable exploitation: exploitation that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
* Non-wood products: goods of biological origin other than wood, derived from forests, other wooded land and trees outside forests.