Creating Environmentally Friendly Livelihoods in Forest-buffer Communities in the Kindia Region of Guinea

Creating Environmentally Friendly Livelihoods in Forest-buffer Communities in the Kindia Region of Guinea
December 4, 2019 12:36 pm Blog

By Nouhou Ndam, WA BiCC Forestry and Landscape Coordinator

Guinea is known as the “Water Reservoir” of West Africa.” Many rivers, including the Niger, Senegal River and Gambia River, originate from Guinea and flow across over a dozen countries. Guinea is endowed with biodiversity that is unique in West Africa, especially in its dense and humid forest, which constitutes the northwest end of the large Congo–Guinea tropical forest. Over 20 new plant species have already been found in Guinea. Altogether, the country boasts approximately 3,000 plant species, of which 69 are endemic.

Unfortunately, during the last 50 years, agricultural expansion, mining, and unsustainable wood extractions have caused unprecedented levels of deforestation and forest degradation. This has been fueled primarily by population growth, as the human population has grown by 200%—from 4 million to 12 million—increasing the demand and pressure on natural resources. As a result, Guinea now has less than 444,000 hectares of dense forests remaining.

Knowing that the forest cannot save itself, there was the need to establish the extent of the drivers of deforestation, and to propose priority actions to curb these drivers. USAID, through the West Africa Biodiversity and Climate Change (WA BiCC) Program, supported a nationwide stakeholder consultation with over 500 leading partners from all regions in Guinea. Participants included those representing government institutions, private sector entities, civil society organizations, and councils. During these exchanges, stakeholders learned about the alarming rate of deforestation and biodiversity loss and the risks these two things pose to human wellbeing. This newfound knowledge was then used to brainstorm solutions and propose priority actions.

One of the actions suggested was the creation of sustainable livelihoods in forest-buffer communities in the Kindia region of Guinea, through the promotion of public–private partnerships. This entails the government forestry sector, over 35 communities, the private sector, the European Cooperative for Rural Development (EUCORD), and “La Fruitiere de Daboya (CFD)” working together to produce food in an enhanced natural forest/trees planted environment. The collaborative initiative will promote agroforestry through the establishment of 50 hectares of diversified tree species and varieties of mango and pineapple. To ensure sustainability of the project, communities will also be sensitized to maintain tree diversity while growing plant crops to earn a living. The initiative is a step toward supporting Guinea’s Bonn Challenge pledge to reforest 2 million hectares of forest by 2030.

The capacity-building aspect is at the heart of the initiative: 25 members of forest management groups will receive additional training on natural ecosystem restoration; 44 producers currently working with CFD will be further trained in their roles; and 500 people will be trained on sustainable plantation management practices and biodiversity and reforestation. Just as important, people from 2,950 households will be supported in growing and selling mangoes, as well as planting and tending to trees to create an enabling environment for productive agriculture and for other domestic use, such as fuelwood.

Success appears likely given the level of commitment shown. Meetings with members of communities have been scheduled to follow plantations to discuss ways forward on minimizing tree loss during the dry season. This includes the weeding and mulching of each tree to increase humidity at the base of planted trees, and early clearing of the surrounding plantations to protect against bushfires. Leaders of this project are confident they will be ready for tree planting by the 15th of June 2020. This will be USAID WA BiCC’s modest contribution to the national Presidential Initiative for forest Landscape restoration of 16,000 hectares by 2020.

A group of people planting trees in the field.
1.5 hectares of trees were planted in Camara-Bounyi community, a 1-hr drive southeast of Kindia.


A group of people posing for a photograph
The Chief of Dadakhoure community (center) led the initial reforestation of 2 hectares of forest.

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