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Case Study 4: Niger’s Forest Management Experience

1. Forestry co-operatives in the 1980s
2. Domestic energy strategy
3. DES: Global management objectives through a radical change in operations of the product channels
4. Lessons to be drawn from past experience
5. Forest management assets and their integration within DES
6. Technical aspects of forest development schemes implemented under DES
7. Conclusions and future development prospects for the forest management schemes in Niger

In West Africa, there is no doubt that Niger has introduced major innovations and made a contribution over the past ten years to natural forest management, ranging from forestry co-operatives operating systems based on those of the agricultural co-operatives of the 1980s, to the rural markets for which particular legislation has been enacted in the 1990s.

The Sahelian-Sudanian wood formations cater for 80 percent of the energy in the form of firewood consumed in the country. This consumption can be estimated at 2 million t/year, and it is growing approximately at the same rate (3.2 percent per year) as the population (8.7 million according to the 1994 estimate).

1. Forestry co-operatives in the 1980s

The forestry management schemes for the Guesselbodi (reserved) and the Boyanga (protected) forests, which began after inventory operations, created a certain stir at the end of the 1980s. Following failure of various plantation projects, the purpose was to implement what was at the time a comparatively recent idea consisting in meeting the needs of urban populations by organizing and getting populations neighbouring forest stands, to exploit these.

It involved putting into place operations which were ideal in technical terms, even though they were not very wide-ranging and had a fairly insignificant effect on the operation of the product systems. The operating methods adopted, based around a moribund co-operative system, did not produce sound results.

These co-operatives - and this was their main error - tried to regroup into one and the same management structure the villages surrounding the forests, which led to management problems (appropriation/confiscation of the financial authority by some individuals from certain villages) but also problems relating to the forest management schemes themselves (fixed rotation periods based on hypothetical sound management criteria, compartment layouts which took no account of the specific features of the various villages and their customary land tenure powers, grazing exclusion plans which eventually excluded livestock producers from their ancestral grazing lands, etc.).

These co-operatives had no chance of any long-term success because the project’s effect was so predominant, particularly in terms of the many salaries that had to be paid. But the idea was good provided that certain operating aspects of it were changed. For the Forestry Service it was obvious that a good forest police force was the best solution in the end to preserve the stands, but the police officers themselves looked without saying a word at the dozens of trucks, donkeys and pick-ups which were organized without any restriction, the supply of wood to towns, and that, while paying only a marginal fraction of the taxes normally due.

The error was to view the problem merely from the point of view of the forest and to forget the population, always suspected of wanting to cut down trees without reason.

The IDA/FAC/CCCE project, through the implementation of its natural forest management component, also chose to set up two co-operatives in 1989: the Faïra and the Dorobobo Forestry Co-operatives. The first was monitored and supported until 1993 by the project Appui à la gestion des terroirs (PAGT). The second is still being monitored by the project Gestion des terroirs filingué (PGTF). These co-operatives still work on an inter-village basis but with an attempt to train the loggers professionally. Taken as a whole, the way they operate is still the one used for the first co-operatives. Developments are based on technical criteria.

Other rural forestry management projects, with the establishment of forestry co-operatives, are about to be created:

- management of the protected forest of Hamadidé and its co-operative;

- management of the Baban-Rafi Forest in the department of Maradi (in 1993 this co-operative was broken down into 22 rural markets);

- management of the forest of Gorou-Bassounga and its co-operative.

There is no doubt that the forestry co-operatives have found it very difficult to survive after the international funding stopped. Most of them no longer operate, they had the merit of being the pioneers. They helped break the taboo under which only government and traders/transporters should organize the forestry exploitation of savannas and steppes.

2. Domestic energy strategy

Since 1989 the Environment Directorate, supported by the Energy II project, has been implementing the Domestic Energy Strategy (DES). This is one of the components of the National Forestry Plan (NFP) dealing with energy wood problems. It is organized around the new tax system for the wood and timber trade, governed by Order No. 92-037 and Decree 92-279 of 21 August 1992, and Order 09/MHE/DE of 23 February 1993.

The new conditions for wood extraction are defined by creating new village structures called ‘rural markets’. Compared with the old co-operative structures, these are lighter and their objective at the initial stage is mainly commercial in character. The operating procedures are light and limit to the maximum the over-involvement of the forestry administration. Its main role is to ensure the monitoring of rural markets and to see to it that the taxes due to local authorities and to the central government are in fact paid. Compliance with management instructions (cutting standards and rules, compartments’ layout, etc.) naturally forms part of the monitoring duties of the administration. At the end of 1994 about 50 rural markets were in operation.

3. DES: Global management objectives through a radical change in operations of the product channels

The four main objectives which fit in perfectly with the guidelines set down in the latest social and economic development plan in Niger, the National Plan to Combat Desertification and the Tropical Forestry Plan of Action, are the following:

- to improve the commercial value of trees (until the late 1980s, trees only had a negligible value in terms of the selling price in the towns - a ratio of 1:10);

- to make the urban and rural populations responsible and meet their needs;

- to create revenues; and

- to sustain management of wood resources.

Some may say that the present development of Niger’s forest management has very little to do with traditional forest management and that the approach that has been adopted is essentially economic. It attempts to meet a known though non-elastic demand in wood. In fact, this approach does not take into consideration just one clearly identified forest, but it is attentive to all sites to be exploited by urban traders/loggers, with or without management. It is a question of making the people themselves (encouraged by the institutional incentives provided by the SED) responsible for managing non-classified forests first of all. This would be achieved according to a light procedure based around the definition of quotas and establishing the borderlines of the harvested village sites, and then by the establishment of compartment layouts and extraction plans which little by little are brought into line with the ‘traditional’ forest management plans.

This approach is the only one that can apply to a country with limited resources that wishes to improve the management of all its peri-urban formations, and not just a few pilot sites. The contribution in forestry and awareness raising which the Energy II project has input to DES is without comparison.

There is no doubt that one could emphasize the following points:

- Publishing the Master Plan for the Supply of Towns with Wood, as tools for planning and orienting energy wood extraction on the basis of multi-disciplinary studies incorporating the evaluation of the resource and its annual extraction rate, the analysis of migration movements and population trends, and lastly, the operation of the agrarian systems.

- Drafting, adopting and implementing of a new more suitable timber tax system, in line with the objectives of government decentralization. This encourages the local communities to take on real responsibility through a tax-raising system at source (by the village representatives) and sharing-out this tax between the Treasury, local communities (arrondissements) and the rural communities themselves. Niger is the first country in the region to have such a policy drafted and implemented. The people appropriate themselves of the resources of their own lands and, with the support of foresters (who are given a new legitimacy) are thereby able to reduce fraud.

- Adapting this new tax system to the general objectives of combating desertification thanks to the introduction of tax rebates depending upon the distances of supply and the extraction sites.

- Through this system of tax-raising at source and the incentives offered to traders to take supplies on the rural markets and purchase wood cut by local loggers (and no longer their own wage-earning loggers), the financial flows between the towns and the countryside have been drastically changed, making it possible to set in motion an economic development dynamic, springing from the villages themselves and no longer brought about by external financial support.

- Defining new management techniques for Sahelian-type forest formations. The management schemes are adapted to the conditions wished and negotiated by the neighbouring populations themselves. The consequence of this is that the compartment layouts are not integrated into the general context of the forest stand. For each neighbouring village it is an essential precondition that the forest stand which the villagers consider to be their own ‘property’ should be clearly marked out. The wood extraction rotation is incorporated into the village land once it has been marked out: the forest management techniques proposed fit in with the social and human environment.

4. Lessons to be drawn from past experience

4.1 Technical constraints
4.2 Organizational constraints
4.3 Land tenure constraints
4.4 Commercial constraints
4.5 Economic and financial constraints
4.6 Constraints linked to the integration of crop farming and animal husbandry

Looking back, a number of constraints have been noted: technical, organizational, land tenure-linked, commercial or economic, and financial together with constraints linked to integrating agriculture and livestock husbandry. The co-operatives were pioneers, and they have provided more input for the debate than the rural markets. It is therefore the constraints linked to the operation of these structures which are detailed here. These ideas took part in conceiving the design of the rural markets.

4.1 Technical constraints

These are numerous, and are due to a lack of comprehension of the regeneration dynamics, of the grazing and forestry resources (productivity, optimum regime, length of rotations, cause of mortality, competition, percentage of vegetative multiplication and of sexual regeneration in a dry or rainy year, an appropriate inventory methodology sufficiently accurate and suitable for this particular environment, etc.).

Recent work has shown that the striped savanna which are typical of the peri-urban plateaux around the town of Niamey have a particular operational dynamic, and it is therefore necessary to approach reforestation operations in this type of stand with a certain degree of caution.

4.2 Organizational constraints

The co-operatives were unable to continue operating because their management methods were too heavy and they needed the constant presence of officials from the administration. They encountered several difficulties:

- lack of knowledge of co-operative principles of action;

- lack of democracy in the choices of their leaders and officials, and sometimes with abuse of power by some of them;

- embezzlement, lack of transparency in the management of resources, poor accounting (inadequate training or deliberately done by the managers), etc.;

- irregular meetings, particularly the annual general meetings, leading to a lack of information for the villagers (on the activities and the accounts of the co-operative);

- lack of internal rules and statutes decided by the people concerned;

- underlying dissent or open disputes between the member villages;

- lack of individual membership, with a capital contribution;

- inadequate supervision and difficulties facing the management structures in pursuing their activities after project take-off;

- the abiding presence of the State.

4.3 Land tenure constraints

Forest management evidently comes up against problems relating to land tenure. For in the traditional Niger environment, the forests are collective resources and are not owned individually or privately. They only begin to be appropriated when they are cleared in order to be turned into agricultural land. Forest stands are appropriated collectively but they may also be marked out on an inter-village basis, but without necessarily having any legal value.

The forests are accessible to everyone, above all as pasture lands for livestock. All the livestock breeders, including the transhumant ones, are therefore entitled to allow their herds to graze in the forests. This grazing right forms part of the rights of use, or customary rights, which are vested in the rural communities by the forestry code and the rural code, except in the managed zones.

Forest management schemes are generally an obstacle to the enjoyment of these rights of use, because of the deferred grazing placed on the exploited forests to protect regeneration and on plantations. Elsewhere, deferred grazing periods tend to be shortened to one to three years, and at Tientiergou (Niger) even to a mere matter of months.

The co-operatives faced the problem of rotation of wood extraction in the forests: how can a stock-breeder in a village sometimes tens of kilometres away from the harvesting site be convinced that it is necessary to avoid any given site put under deferred grazing? This was one of the hurdles in the co-operative harvesting systems, partly resolved by the village-type management system proposed within the framework of the controlled rural markets.

4.4 Commercial constraints

The co-operatives found it difficult to dispose of their products mainly because of the high and arbitrary cost of the wood they produced and the competition they faced from the traders/transporters. The latter bought wood cheaply in the uncontrolled zones, at prices that fluctuated more sharply. It was vital to provide support from the administration in order to temporarily stop uncontrolled extraction so that the co-operatives could commercialize their wood. Such a system could only function provided that the quantities of wood for sale were scarce. Furthermore, how could any long-term plan be made for the administration to impose conditions on village production structures which depended on its good-will to dispose of their products. Lastly, it should be emphasized that one of the causes of this slump in sales was the idea of the administration setting wood prices without having any consideration for the distance of wood extraction and for the quality: the small-wood at Guesselbodi, 20 km from Niamey was sold at the same price as large-wood from the Faïra wood, 80 km away!

This difficulty has been solved today by reducing the costs (there are no more wage-earners), through differential taxation, the development of rural markets in areas where there is a great deal of potential, and on the basis of freely negotiated prices between the production structures (rural markets and the traders/transporters).

4.5 Economic and financial constraints

This point is extremely important and to be realistic, the management of hundreds of thousands of hectares is still extremely costly and only possible by the government, even if it is limited to setting up inter-village boundaries within the forest and establishing cutting quotas. Yet both these operations are of vital importance.

Economic constraints underlie the definition of forest management. For some operators, management can only be conceivable if all the technical parameters are mastered (inventory of the harvesting potential, setting up the layout, determining the ‘allowable cut’, etc.). In Niger a more pragmatic approach has been adopted, based on the lack of sufficient financial means of the government, even if supported by a trickling of grants from external donors. As far as possible, the management of degraded forests must be transferred to the people before rehabilitation, because time is short. The forests must be maintained and be prevented from disappearing. The active support of local people, the creation of income-generating activities and the sharing of revenues are three indispensable powerful levers to be used in order to guarantee the sustainability of forest productions.

The cost of running and managing the rural markets is actually very low and when these markets are properly managed they always produce profits. Integrating other forest products, sometimes more remunerative, should in future improve the profitability of the rural markets.

4.6 Constraints linked to the integration of crop farming and animal husbandry

One of the lessons learnt from Niger’s experience in the past few years regarding the decentralized management of forests is the difficulty of integrating crop farming and animal husbandry. At the moment there are enormous obstacles to the integration of these two main economic activities of the populations in the forestry management operations. This is due to the fact that some activities are only being partially, if at all, taken into account during the project framing phase. These obstacles are due essentially to the contrast between:

- the agro-pastoral systems, which are still extensive in nature; and
- the intensification of these production systems which the forest management schemes attempt to impose.
It must be admitted that today little important progress has been made with regard to intensifying agriculture and livestock production. Yet the development of forest management is closely linked to the capacity to contain - that is to say, intensify - these two major rural activities.

Production from a silvo-pastoral village land (firewood, meat, milk, etc.) is more profitable for the country than a small and temporary output of millet. It is in the country’s self-interest to do everything possible to ensure that the rural communities themselves control land clearing.

The greatest danger for foresters is the increase in the arable surface area to the detriment of woodlands, and sometimes permanently so. For the stumps are generally burnt, preventing any reproduction by sprouts. This destruction is a lot more serious than felling, even of live trees, under forest management plans.

5. Forest management assets and their integration within DES

5.1 New forestry legislation
5.2 Creation of paid work and income distribution

5.1 New forestry legislation

The revision of the forestry code is currently being completed. Yet, gradually extending the new tax structure relating to fuelwood trade, to the majority of forests in Niger is essential to the promotion of the spread and generalization of forest management in the country.

The new legislation adopted in 1992 encourages and benefits rural producers who are organized into rural markets. Thus:

- owners of planted (private) forests and producers’ groups are exempted from taxation which is only charged on the transport and marketing of wood in the towns; this is the main difference between this and the former system in which the wood was taxed upon production;

- part of the revenues are returned to them;

- the financing of regeneration work is paid for from the forestry tax and no longer from profits (as was the case before);

- wood from the managed zones is reserved for them (under Order No. 92-037, with the self-management by the riverside communities); outside traders no longer have access to the resources;

- traders/transporters are oriented towards the most favourable areas. This is the role of differential taxation.[3]

5.2 Creation of paid work and income distribution

Between 1986 and 1992, the co-operatives trading wood made it possible to inject about 65.5 million CFAF into the concerned local communities. This money used to remain in Niamey, because the loggers were town-dwellers working for the transporters for a wage. The global value-added created in the national economy was therefore raised to 262 million CFAF.

All this money made it possible to create jobs, curb the rural exodus by young people, develop other economic and social activities such as water point repairs, setting up a grain bank, purchasing inputs, extending and enlarging social buildings, reviving cultural activities, etc.

In 1994, 38 rural markets had a turnover of over 50 million CFAF (at a price of 6.5 CFAF per kg compared with a maximum of 2 CFAF/kg in the uncontrolled zones). About 600 loggers (or rather the loggers’ households) shared 40 million CFAF between them, namely 60 000 CFAF per household which is quite considerable and certainly curbed the rural exodus.

6. Technical aspects of forest development schemes implemented under DES

6.1 Controlled management of Tientiergou
6.2 ‘Oriented’ forest management at Degma

6.1 Controlled management of Tientiergou

The activities of the Energy II project began in the region of Tientiergou to the south-east of Niamey. This village is about 50 km to the south-east of Niamey and 15 km to the west of Say. The climate is Sudano-Sahelian (the average rainfall over 40 years is 600 mm). The Tientiergou Forest as defined by Energy II project comprises a 30 000 ha plateau of leopard bush which surrounds this village, and whose development concerns about 20 neighbouring hamlets.

6.1.1 Social and land tenure aspects

The population comprises the ‘noble’ Peuhls (60 percent) and the ‘rimaïbes’ Peuhls who were their former captives (20 percent) who have been settled in the area for generations, and by various recently arrived groups, who are viewed as ‘aliens’. The village head is the master of the lands, and his authority is handed down to his descendants. The other components of village society can only enjoy cropping rights which are individual. The silvo-pastoralist areas and the ponds are under the authority of the village head, but their use is collective, concerning several villages. Moreover, the villages recognize the supreme authority of the state over all the country’s lands. Apart from the family of the village chief, all the members of the villages pay a tithe (one-tenth of their harvests) to use the fields.

Agriculture and livestock rearing are the occupation of virtually all the active population, and they constitute their subsistence livelihood and their income. The villagers exercise important secondary activities in order to acquire other incomes (handicrafts, small-scale trading, wood sales, etc.). Many of the young men used to emigrate every year during the dry season, but with the crisis they now prefer to find work locally which explains the growing interest in wood-extraction (logging). Livestock husbandry in the region suffers from a lack of space. All forms of forest closing off is seen as further reduction of the pasture land, which have already been encroached upon by agriculture.

6.1.2 Grazing resources and forest harvesting

The Energy II project deliberately chose not to upset the pastoralists, because meat production (particularly since the devaluation of the CFAF) is one of the prime resources of Niger. All management schemes should be silvo-pastoral in nature or not be at all. The livestock producers use the silvo-pastoral resources, and indirectly profit from the rural markets. A number of village funds also provide assistance to the livestock breeders through the veterinary pharmacy.

The plateau is presumably grazed by the resident livestock (20 000 head of cattle and 35 000 small ruminants) and by livestock from outside (10 000 cattle and 18 000 small ruminants). The plateau is used above all in the rainy season and at the beginning of the dry season. The livestock is then spread out between the plateau and the agricultural land to which it emigrates. The livestock producers have observed that the following palatable species are becoming increasingly rare: Boscia salicifolia, Tephrosia bracteolata, Aristida funiculata, Indigofera diphylla, Andropogon gayanus, etc.

The biomass production on the plateau has been estimated by Bagoudou (1992) using Boudet’s formula (1991) which gives a theoretical production potential (linked to rainfall) which has been multiplied by the rate of ground cover. This gives 600 kg/ha/year, of which one-third is considered to be available for the livestock. The needs of one TLU (a 250 kg TLU) are 6.25 kg per day, or 2 250 kg per year. One TLU requires therefore over 11 ha. Subsequently, it was realized that this data was an overestimate. In a normal year, there are few transhumant herdsman, and the agricultural land (cultivated or fallow) provides an abundance of millet stocks, wild grass and woody shoots. Achard (1990) has estimated that about 6 000 TLU is the potential carrying capacity of the plateau (6 ha/TLU).

Furthermore, if grazing were to be prohibited, it is likely that a substantial part of the bare land would soon be covered with grass and that there would no longer be enough water in the tree-covered zones to keep alive species which are often classified as being Sudanian, such as Combretum nigricans (Aubréville, 1944).

From both the point of view of maintaining the ecological resources (soil, biodiversity) and the monetary income per surface unit, it would certainly seem to be preferable not to farm this plateau and to set it aside for livestock husbandry, wood-extraction and fruit-picking. The method which is the least hazardous is similar to traditional rummaging, because it preserves the general structure of the striped or leopard bush.

At the present time, considering the ecological and socio-economic data, the forestry services are laying down quotas which must not be exceeded (the ‘limits’ against overharvesting). Knowledge of increments is very approximate. Forest inventory constitutes only one stage of the management process. Subsequently it will be necessary to monitor the situation in order to adjust the quotas in terms of actual productivity recorded on a large scale, under real logging conditions. The silvo-pastoral methods that follow have been proposed to the villagers:

- Pruning and wood extraction are subject to the following rules:

- A six-year interval is laid down between wood extraction on the compartments, which means six compartments per village forest. A short rotation does not jeopardize the survival of the forest and it simplifies the compartments layout. Each compartment is about 300 ha.

- The size of the village forest is about 1 800 ha per village with 250 inhabitants, within a territory that is easily accessible by foot each day for men and livestock (a radius of about 8 km).

- The annual output from a compartment in the Tientiergou region is estimated at 300 ha × 1.2 m3 which equals to 360 m3/year.

- Wildlife management can also be contemplated if the law banning hunting is amended.

- Collecting gum, fruit, brèdes, twigs, will be set aside as a matter of priority for women and children from the village.

- Grazing is reserved in priority to the village livestock producers and a few transhumants who are clearly identified (except in the event of a catastrophic drought which makes it necessary to take in ‘pastoral refugees’).

- The ban on grazing is only imposed for a short period: at the end of the dry season after wood extraction in a compartment and the following rainy season.

6.1.3 Aiding the emergence of multi-professional village groups

The 1993 Order laying down guidelines included a provision to issue rural concessions to the village groups over land called ‘rural markets’ within each bush zone, to be managed by the villagers (livestock rearing, logging, fruit-picking) whereas until then they had been no official right to use uncultivated lands.

The rural markets are organized around an office, comprising representatives of the main socio-professional categories (crop farmers, livestock breeders, loggers). After a period of group promotion which the project is currently handling, but which could also be subcontracted to NGOs, the group is set up with a president and a treasurer, etc. During the group promotion period, a ‘provisional forest management plan’ is drawn up, to act as a kind of contract between the village and the administration. The project officials survey the benchmarks in the forest and above all the borderlines, with the aid of GPS equipment. For each village, two or three easily identifiable benchmarks on the map are surveyed. The surveying must be carried out in one day. The data is then sent to the Niamey mapping unit which places the data on a GIS, on which the topographical representation of the region has previously been recorded in digital form.

The village forest plan is then drawn up and presented to the villagers who can then say whether they agree with the provisional boundaries, and ask if necessary modifications to it. They are then told the approximate size of a compartment, which will enable them in the course of one year to extract one-sixth of the large-wood stock of the forest. They will be asked where they want the first compartment to be located within the forest, relating it to the benchmarks surveyed on the ground and located on the maps. All the data on the managed village forests are in this way stored as they are set up on the central GIS at the Environment Service.

6.2 ‘Oriented’ forest management at Degma

In order to supply urban centres with fuelwood, rural markets have been set up. At the present time there are two types, as defined in Order 92-037:

- ‘oriented rural market’ which only collects deadwood; and
- ‘controlled rural market’ which is defined as collecting deadwood and logging live-wood in compliance with certain technical standards.
Depending upon the type of wood available in a particular forest, either an oriented rural market or a controlled rural market is put to the villagers. It is in this way that the Degma Forest (the Torodi zone) covering an area of 4 223 ha, has benefited from the establishment of an ‘oriented rural market’.

The foresters would like to see the ‘oriented’ system moving rapidly towards a ‘controlled’ system, foreseeing the depletion of deadwood in the fairly long term, which will inevitably lead to cutting green wood.

The operation took place in three stages over seven and a half months:

- a map was made of the village lands;
- inventory data was collected;
- information was acquired on the socio-economic life of the villagers; and
- management plan was designed.
Unlike the inventory methods used for mapping purposes, the GPS surveyed a number of benchmarks in the forest and the village. These co-ordinates are inputted into an AGIS software which draws the map and calculates the surface areas of different vocational lands making up the forest, namely the agriculture land, the silvo-pastoral land and the forest land.

An inventory was drawn up to enable the team to estimate the merchantable wood stock, the number of standing trees and the proportion of farmland to the total forest area. The number of sampling plots inventoried totalled 180 (0.09 ha in area) which amounts to a 0.48 percent sampling rate. The quota was set at 4 steres/year/ha of the compartment to be harvested. With six compartments (a six-year rotation) the annual quota would be 0.67 steres/ha for the whole of the forest. The number of standing trees totalled 695 ± 63 per ha with an average (ground) cover rate of 61.5 percent and a 31 percent rate of arable land.

Various socio-economic surveys have been carried out into the activities of the local people, their habitat, their educational status, the number of households, the number of loggers, incomes, village size, etc.

The results of these surveys and of the inventory were used to draw up a forest management plan comprising four components: the diagnosis; the working plan; the monitoring, supervision and training plan; and the regulations pertaining to penalties and offences.

7. Conclusions and future development prospects for the forest management schemes in Niger

Since the establishment of fairly efficient village structures, the tree has now acquired a substantial monetary value in the eyes of the local people. The government now only has to monitor the situation, because the perennial status of the forests is now guaranteed and the Treasury is receiving revenues. The tree has a value. It is now necessary to use it to meet the village requirements, but also to maintain their capital resource by rehabilitation work. This is the principle of the DES.

The development prospects for silvo-pastoral or forestry management on these new bases (DES, and the results of the first phase of the project) are many and are decidedly optimistic, provided that the following measures are adopted and encouraged:

- a supple and less technically oriented approach must be adopted, taking account of local know-how;

- the most effective and easily mastered regeneration techniques, particularly from the point of view of cost, must be identified and extended whenever necessary;

- very lightweight village management structures must be promoted, such as the rural markets;

- the training of the members of the village management structures must be enhanced;

- an adequate institutional framework must be put into place, which is able to provide more incentives in fiscal and land tenure terms, moving towards genuine decentralization, in order to strengthen local resource management, planning and development management capacities;

- agriculture and livestock intensification must be encouraged in order to reduce their pressure on forest resources.

The next few years will be crucial. The results attained so far are still institutionally fragile. For it is difficult for people to give up certain habits. Forestry control over the (wood products) entrances to the towns has become as ineffective as it was before the project, after having given proof that it could have been otherwise. Very recently the traders/transporters have asked to reopen certain areas of the rural markets for uncontrolled harvesting, or quite simply to review the law, and some foresters might have gone along with them. The Environment Directorate fortunately replied with a categorical refusal. It is therefore necessary to move quickly, much more quickly, and to create more markets in order to occupy the land and overcome the point of no return (Madon, 1994).

Case Study carried out on the basis of the following documents: Hamadou (1994); Montagne et al. (1994); Peltier (1991); Peltier et al. (1994-a and b); Madon (1995); Bertrand (1990); Seed and CTFT (1991).

[3] The new taxes decline as the distance from the town increases, which encites traders to go to look for wood over long distances in the bush instead of over-harvesting the region of Niamey. This tax is also allocated to different sources. On stere of wood purchased for 1315 CFAF by a transporter, 113 CFAF are reinvested in the silvo-pastoral management of the forest (setting up mulching with branches and seeding to regenerate the grassy and woody cover, etc.) and 295 CFAF are paid into the village fund to serve various purposes (maintaining the school, the dispensary, the places of worship, the roads, setting up a veterinary pharmacy, building a store for cereals or concentrates for the livestock, etc.). This is very important, because if all the wood for the town of Niamey were to come from the managed forests, 150 million CFAF would be reinvested each year for village development, and 60 million CFAF for silvo-pastoral management. Lastly, 15 million CFAF would go to the State and 40 million CFAF to the local communities to enhance their administration and make them independent with regard to current operations.

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