Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page

Case Study 1: The Nazinon Reserved Forest (Burkina Faso)

1. Background to natural forest management
2. Nazinon reserved forest
3. Lessons learnt and future prospects
4. Conclusions

1. Background to natural forest management

The very first time that a natural forest management policy was framed in Burkina Faso was in 1981. It completed the forestry policy which only comprised reforestation programmes and extension of improved cooking stoves. At the beginning it was entirely limited to the improvement of the reserved (gazetted) forests owned by the state, whose legal status made it easy for the Forestry Service to take action. In 1983 two concepts were considered to be essential in natural forest management (Compaoré and Laban, 1983): the multi-purpose management of natural forests, and the involvement of local populations in forestry management.

A number of vegetation studies carried out after 1983, together with the lessons learnt from organizing the extraction of fuelwood after 1985, made it possible to adopt the following measures:

- selective cutting was adopted in the natural forests being managed to produce fuelwood instead of the simple coppice system in order to minimize stump mortality (particularly in periods of severe drought), to support the vegetative reconstitution of the logged compartments, to promote the conservation of seed-bearers or seed stands, to consider multiple-purpose management of natural forests;

- the choice of logging periods that are compatible with that of agricultural activities;

- utilization in the southern part of the country, of prescribed early burning operations in managed forests;

- setting the harvested compartments under grazing exclusion (for at least five years in the north of the country and for a shorter period further south), followed by controlled grazing, in compliance with prescribed specifications; and

- creating a forest management fund to guarantee forest management, above all after the end of external financing of forest management projects.

All these measures were applied for the first time in the Aménagement et exploitation des forêts pour le ravitaillement de la ville de Ouagadougou en bois de feu (UNDP/FAO/BKF/85/011) project of which the Nazinon Forest forms part.

2. Nazinon reserved forest

2.1 Brief overview of the forest
2.2 Management project
2.3 Methodology used
2.4 Foundations of the management system
2.5 Participation of the local population
2.6 Financing forest management and the breakdown of revenues
2.7 Priority issues to be settled during phase iii

2.1 Brief overview of the forest

The Nazinon reserved forest is 70 km to the south of Ouagadougou in the Sissili Province. Its boundaries are the following geographical co-ordinates: 11° 30’ and 11° 51’ N and 1° 27’ and 1° 50’ W. It was gazetted by Order No. 538/SEF of 23 January 1954. It presently covers 32 000 ha but only 23 700 ha are subject to proper forest management.

It lies in the north Sudanian sector of the Sudanian domain with an average annual rainfall of 800 mm (mainly concentrated between the beginning of June and the end of September). It is situated in a peneplain, at an average altitude of 300 m, belonging to the vast complex of the Mossi Plateau (the central part of the country). It has hydromorphic, ferruginous, leached or impoverished soils, with bottom-up induration of the slopes. The hydro-graphic network mainly comprises the Nazinon River, which is a semi-permanent waterway. Vegetation is mainly tree savanna of Butyrospermum paradoxum, Detarium microcarpum, Acacia spp., Lannea spp. and Combretum spp., with a substantial grass cover dominated by the Andropogeneae. It is also, but more rarely constituted of savanna woodland with patches of Afzelia africana, Khaya senegalensis, and Pterocarpus erinaceus. One also finds riparian formations along waterways and in bottomlands where Daniellia oliveri, Mitragyna inermis, Khaya senegalensis and Anogeissus leiocarpus prevail.

A forest inventory designed and implemented in 1992 shows that these formations are presently in a very advanced state of degradation, whose indicators are the reduction in the number of species and of the number of trees per surface unit.

Twenty-four villages are involved in managing the Nazinon reserved forest. According to the latest census in 1985, the total population was put at over 21 000. The population’s growth rate is high (4.9 percent) because of the immigration of people from the Mossi Plateau. It is made up of Gourounsis, indigenous Mossis that live in the northern part of the area, immigrants above all in the southern part and a few Peuhl livestock breeders. Livestock husbandry is extensive for cattle and semi-intensive for small ruminants. The present sedentary trend of the livestock breeders is illustrated by the fact that they mostly move over medium distances in search for water and grazing land during the dry season.

The Nazinon region is one of the main areas of fuelwood extraction to supply Ouagadougou.

2.2 Management project

The Nazinon Forest Management project was implemented as part of a political decision taken in April 1985 to combat unrestricted woodcutting. The forest was selected in view of its legal status (as state-owned property) which facilitated immediate intervention by the Forestry Service in finding a solution to the supply of Ouagadougou with fuelwood on a sustainable basis. Work actually began on its management in 1985 under the aforementioned Aménagement des forêts pour le ravitaillement de la ville de Ouagadougou en bois de feu project. For four years, it worked on designing a natural forest management model.

2.3 Methodology used

After documentary research into the archives and the national forestry inventory, the preparatory phase continued by analysing the socio-economic environment (the neighbouring populations: numbers, structures, ethnic groups, production systems, technological level, relations with the forest etc.). This led to the implementation of a period of concerted efforts with all the villages that were susceptible of taking part in the project in order to organize them into Forest Management Groups - FMG (Groupements de Gestion Forestière), and subsequently to train them. Considering the scope of the task, the low technological level of the villagers involved, and in the light of the participatory approach adopted by the project, a technological transfer system was first designed based on the concept of the supervisor, who would act as a channel for supplying technological packages towards the other members of the groups (Box 32).

Box 32: Training within the framework of the Nazinon reserved forest management

One of the conditions for any sustainable management of forest resources is to ensure the real transfer of technologies designed to guarantee that every activity is effective. The members of the FMG must be able to master a certain number of indispensable tools for sustainable management. The training modules are provided in terms of each target group.

The training system is based upon the concept of the supervisor who is a member appointed by his own group to be given theoretical and practical training on a selected theme. Upon completing training, the supervisor’s duty is to teach the other members of the group what he or she has already learnt and to ensure that it is properly applied in the field. This is an unpaid function.

The training subjects are identified by the populations themselves (animal health, intensified agriculture, etc.) by the project as it is implemented (forest use, early fire management, etc.) and following special surveys (apiculture, collecting and storing fodder, literacy in the national languages).

For most of the themes and subjects, the module comprises booklets for the instructor and for the trainees, a box of pictures, a set of slides and an audio cassette. A team of technicians is commissioned to produce a technical document on a particular theme. The document is then given to a team of communicators to be translated into simple language and for the production of teaching aids (video equipment, a set of slides and projector and instructor’s book).

Monitoring has proven very important after the first few years of implementing the management plan because it has made it possible to review some of the training modules, to retrain or replace some of the supervisors. This is done by the project team, the technical management unit of the forest management site and the local agriculture and livestock services, and the peasant co-operatives.

The demarcation of the boundaries of the areas to be managed has been based on the interpretation of the aerial photographs at scale 1:20 000, using the following criteria: the official boundaries of the forest, the forest formations deemed to be appropriate to provide a standing volume of at least 10 m3/ha, and the lack of large human occupancy. This made it possible to exclude the zones with strong anthropogenic interference, and offer the people a plan to recuperate the sparsely occupied zones. It also made it possible to set up management units.

A basic (brief) inventory was made of each management unit (varying between 2 000 and 4 000 ha in size) before cutting. A horizontal sampling on a points basis was used to estimate the volume of merchantable fuelwood per hectare. The inventory did not specify the distribution in diameter classes. This information made it possible to design a compartment layout taking account of the rotation system adopted.

The management plan is a document based on consensus, comprising two main parts:

- The management plan proper, which sets out the general details regarding the strategic decisions, data on the forest, the population and the management objectives.

- The plan of operations, which details the annual programming of expected production, the areas to be logged, enriched, protected, the forecast revenues, expenditure, and the responsibilities of each party involved. This is the benchmark document of the Technical Manager responsible for its implementation.

The adoption of these plans by the project marks the end of the preparatory phase and sets the seal on a forestry management and production unit which is called Chantier d’Aménagement Forestier. This is defined as a technical and administrative entity comprising one or more forests, a management plan and a plan of operations. There is only one board of administration for the Nazinon Forest. The management preparatory phase lasted some 36 months and was financed from external resources.

From that time onwards the forest is managed exclusively using resources from the forest management fund which is replenished from contributions negotiated with FMGs and levied from the forest products’ revenues. The forest is managed jointly by the government and FMGs.

2.4 Foundations of the management system

2.4.1 Revolution

A provisional 20-year revolution decided by the Forestry Service was adopted for the Nazinon reserved forest because of the little knowledge available on the productivity of natural formations and the ignorance of such parameters such as the standing volume and the drought cycles. This revolution period was also based on the annual increment rates calculated by Clément (1982): 0.66 m3/ha/year for natural non-protected and unmanaged forest formations, and 0.83 m3/ha/year for protected or managed formations. This was also supported by the results expected by the protection measures (Box 33) proposed.

Box 33: Early prescribed burning periods

Curative and preventive actions against bush fires is provided by the groups of volunteers set up by the FMGs. The technique for sequential burning of grasslands was adopted in 1988. Three major sets of Graminaceae have been identified in terms of the dehydration rate of the grasses (annual or perennial):

- Loudetia togoensis formation is burnt at the end of the rainy season (generally early October);

- Pennisetum pedicellatum formation is burnt two to three weeks after the last rains (mid-October/early November);

- lastly, the Andropogon spp. formation is burnt in December.

Forest strips which act as a fire-break network were opened before burning: perimeter strips around the logged compartments, and the strips used as fire-breaks. Then the blocks on the leeward side and contiguous to the areas to be protected (the croplands) were burnt first, against the wind.

2.4.2 Silvicultural operations, regeneration and logging

The first partial conclusions of the studies regarding the rehabilitation of natural stands advised against the simple coppice system and in favour of ‘coppice selection with standards’. This method is governed by rules based on the following criteria:

- Density: no logging is permitted on sites with fewer than 200 stems (stumps)/ha, according to a visual estimate.

- Health status: priority must be given to felling of malformed trees and individuals most affected by disease.

- Commercial dimensions: trees must be felled whose diameter (at breast height) range between 10 and 25 cm.

- Protection: of legally protected and of scarce species.

- Ecology: conservation of formations on termite hills, steep slopes, hard pans, river banks, and seed trees.

- Regeneration: by seeding or natural vegetative reproduction:

* natural regeneration by seed: some species such as Butyrospermum paradoxum germinate easily in the rainy season, however, the majority of the seedlings die at the beginning of the first dry season, and fires destroy the survivors;

* regeneration by direct seeding: direct seeding was adopted as a technique for artificial regeneration thanks to its cost-effectiveness (1 700 CFAF/ha) and its ease of learning by the people. Direct seeding uses the same techniques and tools that are employed for sowing cereals in the field;

* regeneration by stump sprouts: the species which are felled, sprout well, except for Acacia dudgeoni. The vigour of the sprouts generally depends on the health and the age of the felled tree. This form of regeneration may be satisfactory with regard to growth in height (4 to 6 m in four years in the case of Detarium microcarpum, Butyrospermum paradoxum), but it does raise problems for the future. Indeed, the number of fellings that these species can support while maintaining their full regeneration potential is still unknown.

- Logging: two types of fuelwood are produced - wood cut in the forest compartments, and deadwood collected on the village lands. The production periods and the amounts produced annually are not the same for these two fuelwood types. The volume of wood taken from the forest remains more or less constant, while the availability of deadwood varies. Teams of loggers extract wood in the managed forest from January to March only, while collecting of deadwood (by women and children) takes place throughout the year. Felling is practised using the double undercut method which not only makes it possible to steer the direction of the falling tree but also leaves a chamfered edge on the stump to reduce stagnation of rain-water. With a stump at a maximum of 15 cm in height, roots can sprout very close to the ground. Selective cutting allows a maximum extraction of 50 percent of the merchantable standing volume. This technical prescription has never been reached after six years of implementation, however. The highest extraction rates recorded have been just over 40 percent.
2.4.3 Spatial organization of the forest

Forest boundaries were materialized by opening up a strip, with an average width of 8 m. The strip layout took account of the official boundaries of the forest, but above all the operating boundaries. An area of 8 000 ha was excluded from the management unit because the human occupancy was very high. The forest was then subdivided into operational management units ranging between 2 000 and 4 000 ha known as management units. Each management unit is managed by one or more groups of villages chosen because of their proximity, the number of people available and inter-village similarities. In the management unit all the management rules are applied. Each management unit is subdivided into compartments, equal in number to the years of revolution (20 years).

Table 22: Features of the management units

Management unit


Number of FMGs

Number of members

Expected production (m3) in 1993


2 852



3 455


2 249



2 582


3 983



2 433


2 799



1 822


2 110



1 681


4 117



3 282


3 932



2 130


1 657





23 699



17 385

* The Nabilpaga unit is highly degraded and is used as an experimental field
2.4.4 Sharing of responsibilities and the marketing system

The officials who are playing a direct part in the timber production and marketing process are the members of FMG, FMG Bureau, Management Unit Head, Marketing Clerk, and Site Accountant (Box 34).

All FMGs which manage a unit make up the FMG Union. Several unions are grouped together to form the Forest Management Pre-co-operative Union to manage a forest management site headed by a Technical Directorate (Box 34). The Nazinon reserved forest is one single forest management site to itself.

Box 34: Organizational chart of the Nazinon forest management site

The organizational chart of the Nazinon Forest site is as follows:

The Forest Management Groups (FMGs)

The FMGs underpin the natural forest management policy. They are defined as voluntary organizations of an economic and social character with a legal status, whose members share common interests. The operation of the groups is set out in the General Statute of pre-co-operative groups and co-operative societies in Burkina Faso and by their bylaws.

The members of FMGs can organize themselves into working teams depending upon their personal affinities. Production, namely the number of steres stacked on the edge of the road, by individuals or teams, is recorded by the groups’ bureaux. Each bureau comprises a president, a vice-president, a secretary, a treasurer and a supervisor. The bureau assists and monitors compliance with the cutting budget, registers the production of the teams and regularly briefs the Management Unit Head on developments and the localization of the stocks. The loggers receive 610 CFAF from their own bureau for each stere as their production is marketed.

Management Units

The management unit is managed by one or more FMGs making up one FMG Union. The management units are headed by a Management Unit Head chosen from the members of the groups. His functions are to co-ordinate the implementation of the working plan at the level of the management unit, and to represent FMG or the FMG Union on the Board. He co-ordinates jointly with the Unit Supervisors, all the activities forecast in the working plan for the management unit. As far as production is concerned, the Unit Head is in charge jointly with the Marketing Clerk of registering the stocks as they are produced, monitoring their location and taking part in drafting the extraction calendar per group. At the same time he is responsible for ensuring compliance with the cutting budget and the quality of production, jointly with the forest management supervisors, and to ensure the free flow of information between the unit and the technical director.

Technical Directorate

The Technical Directorate is responsible for implementing the forest working plan for all the management units making up the Forest Management Pre-co-operative Union, under the direct supervision of the Board of Management and of the Forest Service. The Directorate is composed of a technical director (a forestry official), a group promotion leader, an accountant, a marketing clerk and a warden/storeman. The technical director is appointed by the Regional Director of the Environment and Tourism (RDET), who has primary responsibility for the Forestry Service at the regional level. Working in close co-operation with the Management Heads, the Technical Directorate submits an annual plan of work to the Board of Management and the RDET in terms of the expected revenues, and supplies four quarterly progress reports on the technical and financial implementation of the plan. Operating costs and salaries for the Technical Directorate are paid out of the Site Forestry Management Fund (Box 35).

The marketing system

The marketing system is structured in the following way: every fuelwood trader wishing to take supplies from the Nazinon Forest site must first of all report to a control post where he is referred to a Marketing Clerk to whom he must submit the documents relating to his professional activity. The clerk assigns him to a management unit from which he is to acquire the fuelwood. The bureau secretary organizes the loading of his truck and gives him a ticket containing the following information: the number of the vehicle, the name of FMG or the logger, the amount of wood removed, and the date. On his return from the site and in accordance with the information written on the ticket, the Marketing Clerk raises an invoice for the trader which is paid for immediately.

The Marketing Clerk from time to time organizes the distribution of the revenues with FMG officials who receive the quota due to the loggers in their groups. The shares of the revenues to be put into the forest management fund and to pay forest taxes are collected by the site accountant who pays it into the site bank account, in the former case and directly to the tax collection authorities in the latter. The bank account of the Pre-co-operative Union is managed jointly by the president of the Board of Management and RDET, or the latter’s officially accredited representative.

This marketing system is often in difficulty because the firewood traders try to evade it in order to make greater profits in zones that are not yet under management. It is therefore only by extending the managed zones and tightening up supervision, that these frauds can be minimized.

The Audit Committee

The Audit Committee is appointed by the General Assembly of the Pre-co-operative Union and is responsible for the regular monitoring of the implementation of the working plan, and to regularly check the books, the cash balances and the securities held by the co-operative society. In the performance of its functions it may be assisted for a limited time or for some specific task by a specialized entity. The Supervisory Commission comprises one representative of the Forestry Service appointed by the Regional Directorate of the Environment and Tourism, one representative of the village authorities, and one representative of the Ministry of Co-operatives.

The Board of Management

The Board of Management is responsible for the general administration of the Pre-co-operative Union. Its specific functions are to comply with and enforce compliance with the constitution of the society and regulations governing the co-operative. It is made up of the Management Unit Heads. The management of the Board of Management is appointed by the General Assembly of the FMG Unions represented by the bureaux of all the groups belonging to the Union.

The administrator is unpaid. However, any expense incurred by an administrator in the exercise of his functions which are authorized or ratified by the Board of Management are refunded. The Board of Management meets every quarter or whenever the president wishes to convene a meeting.

The site budget

The site budget is a provisional statement of the forecast revenues and expenditures, together with the purpose and timing of their utilization. The budget is annual, but divided into quarterly fractions. The budget is drawn up by the Technical Director, who submits it to the Board and to RDET in the first week of December of each year. The final version of the budget is then adopted by the Board. The site budget is drawn up on the basis of the forecast production and reserves from the previous budgetary year. The reserves equal 10 percent of the total amount of annual revenues. To facilitate the planning, supervision and evaluation of the site activities, the budget is organized according to a standardized structure of captions within which the budget lines are incorporated.


The site revenues are generated by the sale of fuelwood. Production is the wood extracted from the forest compartments and the deadwood collected on the village lands. Nevertheless, the roadside price is the same for both types of wood (1 610 CFAF)/stere). Consequently, the forecasts for the annual revenues depend upon the volume of fuelwood produced and its roadside price.


The entities which are authorized to contract and pay expenses are the Board of Management and RDET working jointly by delegation of the Board’s powers. The Board, following the adoption of the annual budget, authorizes the expenditure in accordance with the quarterly programme. The programmed expenses are paid for under the responsibility of the Technical Director who is directly answerable to the president of the Board of Management and RDET. Adjustments to the quarterly programme, and to the amount of the annual budget lie solely within the authority of the Board.

Box 35: The origin of the Forest Management Fund

On 15 July 1985, when the ‘programme to combat unrestricted logging’ (Lutte contre la coupe anarchique du bois) came into force, the Forestry Service strategically and provisionally began collecting of deadwood. This is how an initial group of six loggers was set up to collect deadwood in the Tiogo reserved forest in order to supply the town of Koudougou, 100 km west of Ouagadougou. A marketing system has been put into place, under which the trader is given a ticket indicating the amount of wood to be taken on the site, at the Ténado forestry post. Being illiterate, the members of the group recruited a clerk to keep track of the marketing of the wood. The revenues collected at the forestry post were then shared out in the following way (Kaboré et al, 1987): 300, 200 and 1 110 CFAF, respectively, for the forest tax (felling permit), the common fund into which subscriptions are paid to meet the collective needs of the group, and for the individual remuneration of the group members. During the first few months of activity, the average income by group member was 80 000 CFAF, which was particularly high in a peasant environment, that the group began to take on other peasants to stack up the steres. It has also set up a one-hectare forest plantation.

Realizing that it was only the forest that did not have a share in the revenues, and learning from the failure of certain other forest plantation projects which had not made sufficient provision for recurrent costs, the Forestry Service then decided that for natural forest management projects in Burkina Faso, which in the past had been financed from external resources, from then onwards part of the income would be negotiated with the loggers’ groups to self-finance forest management. This gave birth to the idea of the Forest Management Fund. The Aménagement et exploitation des forêts pour le ravitaillement de Ouagdougou en bois de feu (UNDP/FAO/BKF/85/011) project was asked to test it. The project management then suggested that the newly created groups should contribute 710 CFAF out of the producer price (1 610 CFAF/stere). This proposal was accepted initially, but was then challenged a few months later by the groups who found the tax too high. New negotiations reduced the contribution to 500 CFAF/stere.

In 1995 the Forest Management Fund was applied to every forest management project in Burkina Faso, with variable taxes ranging from 250 to 600 CFAF depending upon the purchase price of different types of fuelwood (local versus exotic species), taking account of the obligation of ensuring that the loggers’ daily remuneration was not less than the guaranteed minimum agricultural wage.

2.4.5 Pastoral component

From the very beginning husbandry of the fodder potential was considered to be a vital part of the management of natural forests which also constitute grazing lands par excellence. The Nazinon reserved forest is no exception. A study of the pastoral component was undertaken within the framework of the management of this forest:

- The number of head of livestock using fodder and water points in the forest numbered 21 000 in 1989, of which 16 000 were cattle and 5 300 sheep and goats.

- The available grazing land accounted for about 40 percent of the total forest area, namely 14 400 ha on the basis of 7 ha/TLU, a theoretical carrying capacity of the forest has been put at 2 000 TLU. It has been proposed to open the forest to grazing five months a year, raising the livestock charge to 4 800 TLU, for an intensive use of the grazing lands in the rainy season. This would help reduce the size of grass cover and hence reduce the intensity of any undesired fires in the dry season.

These assumptions have made it possible for discussions to take place between the project, the livestock breeders, the farmers and the livestock technicians which led to the drafting of a set of specifications for forest grazing. They contain mainly the following points:
- the compartments which are logged and/or enriched must be excluded from grazing for at least 18 months in order to enable the rehabilitation of the woody potential;

- the pastures must undergo annual rotation in order to prevent creating overgrazed corridors in the short term;

- trimming out and topping of trees and bushes are forbidden;

- the livestock producers must guarantee the minimum level of health cover for the livestock with the support of the project and the Service in charge of animal husbandry;

- vocational training is provided by the project and the Animal Husbandry Service.

Livestock husbandry in the zone is one of local people’s main activities. It is traditional husbandry with seasonal migrations southwards as a result of the pressure of transhumant pastoralists coming from the north of the country. There are three types of stock-breeders: traditional livestock producers (Peuhls) from the local area, Mossis agro-pastoralists, and transhumant livestock producers who use the area intensively from the beginning of January to May.

Trials with controlled grazing (in July-August) and collecting and storage of hay, which the project undertook, have not produced any encouraging results. The ban on setting up camps in the forest and the fact that the compartment layout designed for forest management did not take account of the spatial breakdown of available fodder could explain the rather unsatisfactory results of controlled grazing, and particularly the failure to respect the carrying capacity. The lack of interest on the part of the herdsmen in storing hay can be explained by the fact that this is traditionally an alien practice to them (Box 36).

The summary of data from the aforementioned study has made it possible to draw up proposals that are prescribed according to the order of preference of the pastoralists: opening the forests up to grazing, sinking boreholes outside the forest, setting up a livestock market, providing animal health assistance and opening a store for animal husbandry inputs.

Box 36: Overview of silvo-pastoralism in Burkina Faso

Compliance with the carrying capacity of forests is essential for the rational use of the fodder potential. Unfortunately, experience shows that this ecological requirement is never respected, even in certain exclusively pastoral zones which are managed in Burkina Faso. For example, the livestock producers have refused to incorporate a managed pastoral zone if their own goats and sheep were not admitted knowing that this possibility was banned by the management plan. Elsewhere, the livestock breeders have at first pretended to comply with the demands of the management plan, incorporating managed zones with the established herd sizes. But subsequently, and gradually, they introduced all their livestock that they had previously kept outside the managed zones.

The main reason that is always given is that traditional animal husbandry is still less of an economic activity and more a way of life to the stock-breeders. It is therefore very difficult, if not impossible, to get them to adjust the size of their flocks to the available fodder resource.

At the present time, the multi-purpose management of natural forests should not set out to meet the animals’ feed requirements, but only to contribute to them. For the problem can only be solved by a change of mentality on the part of the livestock breeders (to make animal husbandry an economic activity first and foremost) and by organizing the rural space-areas within the framework of village land management plans. This must be completed by appropriate research activities in relation to the rational use of fodder resources (so far the experiments have failed to take account of tree/shrub fodder and rotation is not always clearly defined and supervised) and to increased productivity of silvo-pastoral areas.

But while waiting for this to happen, the use of grazing lands must be admitted in spatial and temporal terms, preferably during the rainy season (when the potential grazing lands on communal land are cut off by the crop lands) in order to help reduce conflict between crop farmers and livestock producers. This could be completed by drilling boreholes to provide water for the livestock outside the managed forests, which would make it possible to keep the animals outside the forests.

The techniques proposed by the livestock specialists (mowing the grass and storing the fodder) have so far had only a slight impact.

2.5 Participation of the local population

The participation of the local people and of the livestock breeders in managing forests is something that the government has tried to encourage by decentralizing natural resource management. In the case of the Nazinon reserved forest, this participation was made possible through an organization whose main management bodies, structures and functions are detailed in Box 34.

2.6 Financing forest management and the breakdown of revenues

The management of the forests is financed from internal resources which they can generate, in this case from the Forest Management Fund especially set up for the purpose (Box 35). This fund has been used to implement the following activities: combating bush fires, reforestation by direct seeding, remunerating the Technical Directorate, maintaining the tracks, and running the whole programme. The breakdown of revenues from forest use should guarantee total remuneration for the work of FMG members, provide financing of forest management activities, but should also ensure a minimum public service for the benefit of the villages involved. At Nazinon, the selling price of a stere of wood, set at 1 610 CFAF (before the January 1994 devaluation of the CFAF) was divided up as follows in 1995:

- remuneration of FMG members:

610 CFAF (38 percent) each

- forest management fund:

500 CFAF (31 percent)

- village investment fund:

200 CFAF (12 percent)

- forestry tax:

300 CFAF (19 percent)

- total stere of fuelwood:

1 610 CFAF (100 percent)

2.7 Priority issues to be settled during phase iii

Phase III of the project was signed in 1994, and will be completed in 1998. The main priority issues that need to be settled without delay over the next few years are the following.

2.7.1 Better integration of pastoralists and livestock producers

Despite a number of attempts, the pastoralists and livestock producers have not been integrated in the way the project wished. The estimated carrying capacity is not being respected at all. And although in the early stage the livestock breeders seemed to be complying, they gradually introduced the herds that they had previously kept off the forest. The adjustment of the number of heads to the tree/shrub fodder potential is a long-term operation based on a perfect knowledge of the environment (productivity per season, type of stock-breeder, the size and composition of the herds, etc.). Furthermore, logging is not implemented from one compartment to the next, in contiguous cutting plots, but according to a checkerboard design which makes it virtually impossible to control grazing exclusion after a selective cutting operation. The shepherds, who are very young, if they are present at all, are quite happy to follow flocks and not lead them.

It is essential to raise the whole question of supervising range lands and particularly of ensuring compliance with the carrying capacity under negotiated agreements with all the livestock producers (transhumant, agropastoralists and Peuhls in the process of settling) and with every other economic agent involved.

Co-operation between administrations (livestock, forestry, etc.) is more difficult than had been foreseen initially. The lack of water in the dry season, except for certain parts around the Nazinon River, means that the flocks concentrate around the riparian forest, which regenerates poorly. The ‘green brigades’ who are theoretically responsible for guaranteeing compliance with the specifications, do not really control things properly. Straw-reaping and hay-making have not brought encouraging results.

2.7.2 Controlling bush fires

Combating bush fires has been given official support since 1985 and a sequential burning technique was adopted in the Nazinon Forest in 1988. However, opening up fire-breaks and implementing prescribed burning coincide with the late cropping period, which limits the farmers’ availability to achieve these in a timely and proper way. Delays in implementation therefore lead to more bush fires, which are fewer, but always present.

2.7.3 Year-round negotiability of the tracks

During the rainy season, some of the wood depots are inaccessible, mainly because of the lack of bridges. The more distant production sites from the main roads find it very difficult to sell their wood production. A real marketing problem exists, and this in the long term is likely to cause people to lose interest.

2.7.4 Team training

The local leaders of FMGs are not always sufficiently literate (when it comes to delivering certificates, supervising, etc.). Literacy and specific training in an even greater number of cases are advocated.

2.7.5 Wood products’ survey

A first survey took place quite a long time before the devaluation of the CFAF in January 1994. The price of one stere at the depot site was set at 1 610 CFAF and the (fixed) price for sale in town was 3 675 CFAF. (Since January 1995 fuelwood sales were completely liberalized throughout the country.) After devaluation, production prices did not rise, but the selling price at Ouagadougou did, almost uncontrollably (up to 8 000 CFAF according to certain sources). Furthermore, along the 6 national highway, in March 1995, individual producers were selling ‘roadside steres’. In this way the transporters/traders could complete loading at a lower price after the legal loading authorized in a particular management unit that had been imposed previously by the marketing clerk at the control post. This should not be allowed, and a very finely tuned wood products’ survey, followed by a price readjustment, is very strongly advocated. Without this some of the producers are likely to be discouraged, and there will be widespread isolated sales points.

2.7.6 Major variability in annual incomes at FMG level

The management units are divided into parcels, whose number is the same as the years of revolution (20 years). Annual production has been quickly and fairly summarily estimated. The horizontal survey on a points system, without knowing the breakdown in diameter classes, is not suitable for selective cutting: it has not been possible to evaluate the standing volumes of wood concerned by selective cutting (on trees with breast-level diameters ranging between 10 and 25 cm). Furthermore, a horizontal survey provides no information on floristic composition. One must be extremely cautious here. This way of estimating wood extraction leads to variable annual productions, hence to fluctuating revenues. The whole logging operation is based on the marking of the trees by the supervisor who is the field technician (because the site director is only present in the field at odd intervals). How can the supervisor, who has received only a very short period of training, estimate the marked volume of timber per hectare? Any a posteriori verification cannot prevent overharvesting in some cases, particularly if the supervisor is one of the villagers (meaning that he is likely to be put under pressure from his own people). The Forestry Service advises avoiding harvesting in adjacent parcels. Some supervisors choose non-adjacent plots, year after year, because they tend to select the parcels that are more valuable, which threatens to raise serious problems in a few years’ time. One of the purposes of forestry research could be to design a reliable, rapid and cost-effective method for estimating the merchantable potential in order to stake out a new compartment layout based on a constant value from one year to the next. Stabilizing incomes could play a major part in guaranteeing the sustainability over the years of this forest by providing this security to FMGs.

2.7.7 Regeneration capacity by direct seeding is clearly over-estimated

It is very difficult to account for natural seeding, direct seeding or young root suckers, drawing a distinction between them. The counting method used must be revised. Regeneration by direct seeding is hardly effective under the present conditions (overgrazing). If these considerations were to be taken into account, this could in future lead to a reduction in direct seeding and consequently reduce the villagers’ incomes (there would be less seed harvested or less frequent seed harvests).

3. Lessons learnt and future prospects

3.1 A new forestry development strategy
3.2 Links between natural forest management and village land management
3.3 Privatization
3.4 Training
3.5 Role of women
3.6 Forestry research

Forest management is accompanied by a number of political, strategic and legal provisions.

The draft forest code is designed to encourage decentralization of forest resource management by legalizing the Forest Management Fund, setting up and managing village forests, and defining modalities to provide incentive measures and encourage the structures that have been organized to guarantee decentralized forest management.

Before the forest code is drafted, the national forestry policy has been reformulated (whose fundamental principles are the participation of the rural populations and the decentralization of forest resource management) and the drafting of a Government Forestry Bill. This Bill, after being amended, will be tabled before parliament shortly. This future forestry Act will join the other legislation on wildlife and fish resources in order to bring the first forest code into being. Furthermore, the laws on the agrarian and land tenure organization in Burkina Faso have also been revised to make them more general in scope, from which various other laws will stem relating to land tenure and other natural resources.

3.1 A new forestry development strategy

The ‘Reserved Forests’ Management Policy, formulated in 1981, has since been broadened to include the ‘protected forests’ (non-reserved). This means that not only the notion of forest management be extended to cover those which are not gazetted, but above all it will provide the possibility for the local people who have forest resources at their disposal to make use of, with impunity.

Furthermore, and along the lines of the far-reaching changes in forestry development that are taking place, the Ministry in charge of forests adopted four new approaches in 1991:

- Approach by socio-ecological zones: this involves taking account of the dominant socio-economic and ecological features in a particular region in order to distinguish between homogeneous zones, and to adapt all measures to the specific ambient conditions.

- Programme-based approach: this is a planning tool which lays down the forms of intervention and management by different institutions with specific objectives and agents within a global and consistent development system.

- Participatory approach: this confirms the paramount and decisive role of the rural populations in meeting their own individual and collective aspirations.

- Village land management approach: this justifies the fact that forestry activities cannot be separated from agricultural and pastoral activities being performed by the same actors on a given area of land. The concept of village land management is defined through the spatial organization of the village land, the dynamic management of natural resources of that village land, and making villagers individually and jointly responsible and liable.

In conclusion, the four approaches offer possibility for operational dialogue with the grassroots communities to identify, and to implement real development programmes that take account of the living conditions, the socio-economic and cultural environment and the legitimate aspirations of the local people. According to this rationale, the State’s intervention is that of a partner of the communities that serves as catalyst for promoting resources’ mobilization.

3.2 Links between natural forest management and village land management

The purpose of village land management in Burkina Faso is to get the people who use a finite space - the village land - to manage the natural resources on that space to an optimum degree within the framework of land tenure security, to ensure the sustainability of the resources and to enhance their value still further (Box 37). The village land-based approach is an integrated and decentralized method. It implies the integration of all the activities linked to agriculture, animal husbandry, forestry, fishing, and the other natural resources into one single land use system.

Box 37: The National Village Land Management Programme

In Burkina Faso, village land management closely links management actions, agro-silvo-pastoral production activities, and the establishment of socio-economic infrastructures for the purpose of local-level sustainable development. It has been adopted within the framework of the search for solutions to the problems of pressure on the land and to the maintaining of the production capital, of which, renewable natural resources (soil, water, vegetation).

The various objectives may be summarized as follows:

- making the rural communities fully responsible for their own future;
- rehabilitating, preserving and improving the potential of natural resources;
- making better use of the land thanks to rational management of its resources;
- guaranteeing the necessary land tenure security to the producers to develop their farms;
- integrating activities linked to agriculture, livestock and forestry with other activities into one single land use system.
The village land approach is based upon participation and making rural populations who are viewed as the main craftsmen of their own village land development, aware of their responsibilities in that regard. It is intended to be global and multi-sectoral, namely it takes account of every area of the social and economic life of the rural communities. It is multi-disciplinary: it involves introducing a capacity to analyse and to make multi-disciplinary proposals in the area, working directly with the peasant farmers. Lastly, it is bottom-up and decentralized at the village level (it should create at the local level a given capacity on the part of the rural communities to take responsibility for their own development), concerted, in order to limit inconsistencies between the different agents involved, and above all it is replicable.

The first such programme began in 1992 for a period of five years in the provinces of Gnagna, Kourittenga and Kénédougou.

3.3 Privatization

The privatization of natural resource management is only viewed in the long term as far as forest resources are concerned. The participatory forest management method adopted by the project makes the State intervene in the essential functions of supervision and counselling. Production and marketing are handled by the Pre-co-operative Forest Management Group Unions and the wholesalers/transporters (private traders organized into economic interest groups).

Privatization in the strict sense of the term, namely the total short-term assignment of managed forests to the small farmers’ organizations, currently comes up against the fears expressed by the Forestry Service. However, the current changes being made to the provisions of the Agrarian and Land Tenure Reorganization of Burkina Faso provide two main openings, namely, recognizing the role of the customary authorities in managing the natural resources, and legalizing private land ownership.

3.4 Training

Several training modules have been identified in order to provide FMGs with technical facilities for forest management, which is a condition for making the local people responsible for sustainable forest resource management. The experience at Nazinon in this area has led to the establishment of the Nabilpaga-Yargo vocational training centre.

3.5 Role of women

The Burkina Faso Government has decided to privilege and to enhance the role of women in the development process. As a result of this decision projects have been implemented that are specifically oriented towards women: forest management, apiculture, karité nut butter extraction and milk production. In Nazinon, they practise improved apiculture, which was introduced in 1988 to improve diets and create monetary incomes. This has led to their initiation in village savings credit. Fifty percent of the income is used to repay the loan and the rest is paid into the fund of each group and used to meet the collective needs of the members or of the villages from which they come (participation in building schools or maternity units, for example).

The role of women in the production of fuelwood in the managed forests is also very important. For example, the Cassou site has 22 FMGs, with a total of 1 260 members of whom 400 are women.

3.6 Forestry research

One of the major constraints on mastering the sustainable management of natural forests is the present low level of knowledge of local woody species. In 1989, nine research programmes were identified relating to ecological monitoring, agroforestry, natural formations, non-wood forest products, wood products, genetic improvement, biotechnology, wildlife, fish resources and malacology (study of the mollusca).

Within the framework of the implementation of the Natural Formations Management Programme a new series of more integrated studies into the dynamics of natural formations in terms of grazing, early prescribed burning, cutting and direct sowing of local forest seeds was undertaken in 1992 with the main purpose of guaranteeing the sustainable use of different plant resources.

4. Conclusions

Natural forest management is becoming increasingly more widespread in Burkina Faso. It relates above all to the production of fuelwood to supply urban centres. Other forest uses, apart from apiculture, do not receive their due attention. This is something which forest managers will henceforth have to deal with in order to give natural forest multipurpose management its full significance.

Case Study based on the following documents: Kaboré and Ouedraogo (1995); Adama and Taieb (1994); Ouedraogo and Soto Flandez (1995); Soto Flandez and Dilema (1990).

Previous Page Top of Page Next Page