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Restoring African Drylands-Private sector and project initiatives

At the beginning of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, this 60th issue of ETFRN News is very timely, with the preface signed by UNCCD Executive Secretary Mr. Ibrahim Thiaw, reflecting a focus on drylands that cover some 40% of the world’s land area and contain some of the most severely degraded landscapes on Earth. ” .

They are also home to a third of the world’s population and a disproportionate number of the poorest people, along with unique ecosystems and biodiversity. And these issues are more acute in Africa than in any other continent.

  • ETFRN News 60 focuses on dryland restoration in the Sahel and the Greater Horn of Africa where levels of poverty, land degradation and out-migration are acute.
  • It collates 36 articles from more than 100 contributors, including some long-term analyses of remarkable increases in tree cover and improved agricultural yields over large areas of the Western Sahel never published before, landscape restoration in Ethiopia, and examples from many other countries.
  • These provide new insights into what has led to the documented successes, summarizes the ‘top ten’ key findings, and offer recommendations to a much-needed change in focus if we are to achieve the ambitious commitments made by African countries to Land Degradation Neutrality targets, the Bonn Challenge, the African Forest Landscape Initiative, and the Great Green Wall, amongst others.
  • The overriding story is that farmer and community-led initiatives are the main driver of dryland restoration that have been adopted at scale, and at low cost.
  • These include simple water harvesting techniques, encouraging natural regeneration, and locally-managed control over resources.
  • Key factors include bylaws made with and enforced by local institutions and communities, the inclusion of women and youth, and effective support from projects and programmes, and national and international policies.
  • Large-scale projects have also played a role, and private sector investments are limited but expanding.

Private sector and project initiatives

2.1 Using market incentives to drive regreening: the case of Sahara Sahel Foods in Niger Josef Garvi & Renate D. Garvi-Bode

2.2 Financial incentives promoting afforestation in Uganda’s drylands Zainabu Kakungulu & Leonidas Hitimana

In brief (ii): Seedballs: an innovative way to restore drylands Teddy Kinyanjui

2.3 Forest and farm producer organizations in Ghana’s drylands: key partners in restoration Elvis Kuudaar, Sophie Grouwels, Pauline Buffle & Saadia Bobtoya

In brief (iii): Sustainable charcoal value chains support dryland restoration in Ghana Mercy Owusu, Daniel Abu & Joseph Asante

2.4 Land restoration requires a shift from quantity to quality: lessons from Tigray, Ethiopia Niguse Hagazi, Aster Gebrekirstos, Emiru Birhane, Frans Bongers, Rob Kelly & Achim Bräuning

In brief (iv): Multipurpose benefits of Acacia saligna in the drylands of northern Ethiopia Emiru Birhane, Abrha Brhan, Niguse Hagazi, Kinfe Mezgebe, Girmay Darcha, Peter Cunningham, Rob Kelly, Frans Bongers & Adugna Gessesse

2.5 Restoring the gum arabic belt in Sudan with local communities Elsayda Mohamed Elhassan Elfadul, Tarig Elsheikh Mahmoud, Hassan Mofadel, Erkan Ozcelik, Simon Rietbergen, Faiza Siddig & Brent Simpson

2.6 Restoring grasslands in Kenya’s Rift Valley Elizabeth Meyerhoff, Peter de Groot & Billy Jones

In brief (v): Linking restoration and sustainable wood fuel initiatives in Sahelian Cameroon Denis Jean Sonwa, Abdon Awono, Lydie Flora Essamba à Rim & Pamela Tabi

And in all cases, to effectively support restoration programmes and projects, all it is vital that those involved must do their utmost to guarantee that these basic tenets are adhered to.

  • Ensure full participation of all land users, build on their knowledge and strengthen their capacities.
  • Support communities to realize clear economic benefits, especially for women and youth.
  • Enable local institutions to develop and enforce their own inclusive conventions and bylaws.
  • Engage governments to elaborate policies and legislation that stimulate investment in trees.

More details , the top 10 key findings, recommendations for a change, commitments made you may wish to find in here, 24 pages synthesis   .

The publication Restoring African Drylands   is included in our library collection for your ease of future reference.

ABOUT: Established in 1991, the European Tropical Forest Research Network (ETFRN) aims to ensure that European research contributes to conservation and sustainable use of forest and tree resources in tropical and subtropical countries. ETFRN promotes a dialogue between researchers, policy-makers and forest users, the increased coherence of European tropical forest research, and increased collaboration with researchers in developing countries.

The full text publication you can find here, all 36 individual articles are available here