Forests and the forestry sector
The Niger has three ecological formations: desert, striped bush, and shrub and tree savannah composed mainly of Acacia spp., Combretum spp., Isoberlinia doka and Tamarindus indica. Forests cover 1.33 million hectares, or 1 percent of the country¿s total land area of 126.67 million hectares, while about 6 percent is covered by other wooded formations.
The Niger has a modest network of protected areas, notably the Aïr and Ténéré National Nature Reserve (8 million hectares) and the Acacia senegal forests in the country¿s central and eastern departments. The most important region in terms of forest conservation is the Niger National Park, where 16 percent of the country¿s forests are located.
The Niger has the highest deforestation rate in Africa, estimated in 2000 at 3.7 percent per year. Over the years, however, the combined effects of the drying of the climate have had repercussions on all renewable natural resources.
Many initiatives have been taken and activities carried out to counter this situation, including the following:
- definition in 1984 of strategic thrusts to combat desertification, known as the Maradi Commitment;
- formulation and adoption of a law on decentralization and the autonomous administration of districts and communes;
- formulation and adoption of a law providing guidelines for the Rural Code;
- formulation and adoption of new legislation and regulations on the extraction and marketing of fuelwood;
- formulation and adoption of a document entitled ¿Guidelines for a Rural Development Policy for the Niger¿;
- formulation and adoption of a National Plan to Combat Desertification in 1985 and revision of this document in 1991;
- implementation of the FAO/United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) project to combat siltation (1990-1996).