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Case Study 2: The Badénou Reserved Forest (Côte d’Ivoire)

1. Introduction
2. Natural environment
3. Plant formations
4. Socio-economic analysis
5. Management of the Badénou reserved forest
6. Measures to involve the neighbouring populations
7. Remarks on the state of the Badénou forest in March 1995

1. Introduction

The Badénou Forest is 40 km north of Korhogo (northern Côte d’Ivoire), and covers 26 980 ha of continuous forest land. It falls in the Sub-Prefectures of M’Bengué and Diawala. It was reserved in 1937. Management studies began in March 1992 and management is expected to run from 1993 to 2012, with a review after 10 years if necessary.

2. Natural environment

The features are:

- a two-season Sudano-Guinean climate. The rainy season runs from May to November with an average annual rainfall around 1 200 mm. Most of the rain is concentrated in the period July-August-September;

- monthly average temperatures around 27°C;

- intense evapotranspiration in the dry season (170 mm in February, 174 mm in March), with low relative humidity (about 40 percent);

- the relief is fairly flat;

- a very dense hydrographic basin comprising:

- ferruginous soils either resting on granite (these are usually poor soils particularly when there are lateritic hard-pan outcrops) or on schist (these are the best soils);

- six plant formations (see below) where the savanna lands are omnipresent, while the dry deciduous forest only covers 1 percent of the total area;

- natural hazards: bush fires, water erosion (as soon as the slope reaches 5 percent).

3. Plant formations

Dry deciduous forests: The main species in these dry deciduous forests are Anogeissus leiocarpus, Afzelia africana, Cola cordifolia, Diospyros mespiliformis, Isoberlinia doka, Terminalia laxiflora, and Pterocarpus erinaceus.

Gallery forests: These lie along the banks of the permanent waterways and can reach a width of 100 m. Virtually all of the species are the same as those mentioned above.

Open woodlands and savanna woodlands: The distinction drawn between these two formations is not evident. They are very similar, with the only difference that the crowns are more closely linked in the open woodland than in the savanna woodland. The main species are: Isoberlinia doka, Terminalia laxiflora, Uapaca togoensis, Pericopsis laxiflora, Diospyros mespiliformis, Detarium microcarpum, Butyrospermum paradoxum, Khaya senegalensis, Daniellia oliveri, and Lophira lanceolata.

Tree savanna: The trees and bushes are scattered here. The main species are Daniellia oliveri, Lophira lanceolata, Terminalia laxiflora, Isoberlinia doka, Terminalia glaucescens, and Butyrospermum paradoxum. These species are noticeable by the fact that one of them sometimes dominates exclusively (the pure Isoberlinia stands).

Shrub savanna: In these formations there are no trees at all. This is the typical formation in the cropping zones after a few years of fallow. The main species are Detarium microcarpum, Terminalia laxiflora, Pericopsis laxiflora, Terminalia glaucescens, etc.

Grass savanna: The grass savanna is the tabular peak of the bare hard-pan plateaux (bowé) which are sometimes very extensive.

Table 23: Surface area, locality and type of plant stands (Reserved Forest of Badénou).

Type of plant formations





By soil type

By distance from dwellings

Dry deciduous and gallery forests



All types (dry deciduous forests)

By distance from dwellings

Waterways (gallery forests)

Dry deciduous forests always distant from villages

Savanna woodland

12 553


All types of soil


Tree savanna

5 037


All types of soil


5 500


Less than 2 km

Shrub savanna

1 663


All types of soil

Over 2 km

Grass savanna or prairie



Bowal on hard pan
Flooded bottomlands


Cropland and fallow

1 100


Good soil



26 980


4. Socio-economic analysis

The town of Korhogo and its outskirts have a population of just over 170 000 of whom 61 000 are rural people and 109 000 urban dwellers. To the north of the town in particular, in the surroundings of the Badénou reserved forest the density is only 15/km2, mainly Sénoufos, who live from the land (animal traction cultivation and use of fertilizer).

As for firewood, the supply-demand balance for woodfuel is sharply in deficit (source: National Energy Plan): 70 000 t/year in 1990, 116 400 t/year in 1995, and forecast at around 240 000 t by 2000).

In 1995, 56 percent of the demand for fuelwood in the Sub-Prefecture will have to be met within a radius of supply in excess of 20 km. As regards timber, the local carpenters are supplied by the sawmills of the forestry zone over 500 km away from Korhogo. This timber is extremely expensive.

The reserved forest is partially inhabited, according to the 1992 survey: 43 households live on the outskirts of the Badénou gazetted forest, 72 other households permanently live in three villages inside the forest, making a total of about 500 people (with seven persons per household). The occupied area totals 1 100 ha (4 percent of the total forest area). This occupancy is a recent and continuing phenomenon which only began after Independence.

Moreover, the region is used by large cattle herds, led by the Peuhls. They usually belong to them as well, even though some are the property of the Sénoufos peasants or of regional officials. Livestock producers practise seasonal transhumance (movement to find new pastures) towards the Katiola regions between December and March. During the rainy season the herds graze in the Korhogo region. This itinerant grazing creates many disputes between crop farmers and livestock breeders. The latter are therefore being pushed towards the areas which are furthest away from villages. That frequently means the reserved forests.

About 15 000 head of cattle cross the Badénou Forest in the rainy season coming from seven Peuhl camps situated in the northern part of the forest. This extensive grazing is accompanied by the cutting of certain woody species whose leaves are palatable (Khaya senegalensis, Afzelia africana) and with dry season fires which are ignited in order to hasten grass regrowth. More animals still pass through this forest in December and April with the very large movements of herds towards the southern grazing lands. Lastly, it is estimated that about 5 000 animals live in the forest during the dry season. However, there are no major installations for this animal husbandry activity except the Nafoun Dam.

The use of non-wood forest products has been studied very little in this region. The most common of these are: the bark of Khaya senegalensis (very much used in traditional medicine), the pods of Parkia biglobosa and the nuts of Butyrospermum paradoxum, certain species like Pterocarpus erinaceus whose ash is used to produce the potash needed to make the traditional black soap. The most commonly poached animals are monkeys, warthogs and antelopes.

5. Management of the Badénou reserved forest

5.1 Inventory and volume tables
5.2 Forest stands increments and merchantable diameters
5.3 General considerations and objectives
5.4 Spatial organization of the objectives

5.1 Inventory and volume tables

The Badénou gazetted forest has been inventoried as follows:

- opening of three strips crossing the forest from north to south passing through all types of vegetation (surface area inventoried: 75.6 ha, with a sampling rate of 0.3 percent);

- an inventory of all the woody vegetation over a width of 25 m (12.5 m on either side of the strips);

- measurements affected: number of trees per diameter class (minimum diameter 10 cm), per species and per type of plant formation.

The volume table used was the one applying to all the species in Mali (volume table = -0.03263 + 0.16223 × C + 0.49943 × C3) in the absence of a local table.

This inventory (Table 24) shows the volumes of ‘large wood’ as follows:

Table 24: Average volume of strong wood by stand

Plant formations

(large wood) in m3/ha

Number of stems/ha
(diameter > 10 cm)

Forest patches



Savanna woodland



Tree woodland



Bush savanna



Grass savanna



The density and the volume of standing large wood are comparable for the trees in both the savanna woodland and the tree savanna, and therefore SODEFOR subsequently did not draw a distinction between these two types of savanna.

Meanwhile, in 1994, IDEFOR designed local volume tables for the following species: Afzelia africana, Anogeissus leiocarpus, Daniellia oliveri, Diospyros mespiliformis, Isoberlinia doka, Khaya senegalensis, Pterocarpus erinaceus, Butyrospermum paradoxum, Prosopis africana, Lophira lanceolata, and Parkia biglobosa.

5.2 Forest stands increments and merchantable diameters

The SODEFOR tried to estimate the forest stands’ increments in the Badénou reserved forest (Table 25). Obviously these results are only indicative and must be used with caution.

5.2.1 Methodology

- ten species were chosen for this study: Khaya senegalensis, Afzelia africana, Daniellia oliveri, Isoberlinia doka, Butyrospermum paradoxum, Lophira lanceolata, Diospyros mespiliformis, Anogeissus leiocarpus, Terminalia macroptera, and Parkia biglobosa;

- four trees per species were felled and one log cross-section round (slice) was taken from each tree;

- on each cross-section round, the number of growth rings was counted starting from the centre of the wood on the basis that each ring represented one year’s growth of the trees (and the diameter increment was measured in terms of the estimated age of the individual tree; the growth curves were then plotted on the basis of these values).

5.2.2 Results of mean annual diameter increments

Table 25: Annual average growth for ten species at Badénou




Parkia biglobosa

10 mm/year

0-35 years

Isoberlinia doka

10 mm/year

0-40 years

Butyrospermum paradoxum

5 mm/year

0-60 years

Afzelia africana

11 mm/year

0-40 years

Lophira lanceolata

9 mm/year

0-35 years

Khaya senegalensis

9 mm/year

0-50 years

Daniellia oliveri

6 mm/year

0-100 years

Terminalia macroptera

6 mm/year

0-40 years

Diospyros mespiliformis

6 mm/year

0-60 years

Anogeissus leiocarpus

8 mm/year

0-80 years

5.2.3 Merchantable (commercial) diameter

Depending upon the mean annual increment rates and the knowledge acquired elsewhere, the minimum commercial diameters were established as follows:

- 60 cm for all species in the savanna woodlands and tree savannas that are susceptible of providing timber;

- 50 cm for Isoberlinia doka, whose growth rate seems to slow down beyond that diameter, large-diameter trees being in fact rarely found.

5.3 General considerations and objectives

The management of the Badénou reserved forest should make it possible to provide the town of Korhogo and its neighbouring region with timber and firewood without resorting to heavy investment (which had been initially forecast). It could also provide a great deal of firewood provided that these stands are protected from fires in the dry season, the cattle is better channelled, and natural regeneration is encouraged.

Implementing this management plan should make it possible to set up a small wood processing industry at Korhogo.

The priority objectives are:

- timber production;

- firewood production, subject to timber production (collecting logs’ by-products, coppice cuttings and shrub felling in shrub savannas);

- natural stand protection and rehabilitation, encouraging regeneration and growth of typical species to the region.

The secondary objectives are:
- involving peasant farmers and livestock producers in managing the forest in order to channel the cattle and manage the forest pasture in order to achieve the priority objectives;

- facilitating livestock replenishment;

- improving knowledge of the stand dynamics and of the protection of fragile environments.

5.4 Spatial organization of the objectives

5.4.1 Compartment layout

The Badénou gazetted forest was first of all divided up into blocks of about 1 000 ha each, separated by tracks and tree-covered fire-breaks, reinforced by live-hedges, totalling 80 m in breadth. Every block was subdivided into sub-blocks, each of 500 ha, by tracks and tree-covered fire-breaks, with a total width of 30 m; every sub-block was divided into compartments, each one constituting a forest management and working unit.

Each compartment is as homogeneous as possible in terms of soil, topography, forest stand and harvesting conditions. In the Badénou classified forest the average features of the compartment are as follows:

- an average area of 150 ha;
- it follows as closely as possible its natural borders;
- it directly leads out to a track which is negotiable by trucks;
- it is constituted of one dominant type of stand.
5.4.2 Breakdown into management series

a) Wildlife protection series

This contains the compartments which are far from the villages, near a watercourse, with a mosaic of plant formations, the preferred habitat of wildlife. It covers 1 917 ha.

The specific actions on this series are:

- a total ban on grazing within the series;

- a ban on commercial logging, but the possibility of planning some cultural or landscape cuttings (to create borders and browsing land);

- early prescribed burning each year (before 15 December);

- undertaking wildlife inventories every two years;

- poaching control.

b) Integral protection series

This comprises compartments on different types of soil, covering the whole of a watershed, and containing all vegetation features. It covers 1 660 ha.

The specific actions on this series are:

- grazing, burning, cutting and fruit-picking strictly prohibited;
- permanent trial plots to be established to monitor the evolution of the formation.
c) Grazing land series

These are the compartments in the area to be set aside for the livestock (transhumance corridor and grazed fire-breaks). The area is restricted to 625 ha.

Since this series is designed primarily for the passage of cattle, no kind of regeneration cutting will be practised, or any associated activities. Trees reaching or exceeding the merchantable diameter will be extracted only on the tree savannas and savanna woodlands; no other plant formation will be cut. Logging operations will be planned by block on a 20-year rotation basis. In order to guarantee spatial continuity with the cuttings in the production series, this series will be logged in 2004.

The following rules are to be followed:

- the series is open to grazing all year long;
- early prescribed burning (before 15 December) carried out annually;
- pollarding and trimming-out of the trees is authorized;
- grazing lands are to be improved where possible.
d) Production series

This is the largest area of all the series: 22 778 ha. In the long term the whole of this series will be operated as an uneven-aged high forest. During the management period, the shrub savannas will be regenerated by clear-felling in order for them to be converted into high forest; the more valuable stands will be converted immediately into uneven-aged high forest.

Regeneration efforts in the production series
All the shrub savannas in the production series will be regenerated throughout this management period by clear-felling. It is only on land cleared for agriculture in this series, namely 1 100 ha, that Khaya senegalensis will be planted. On the other formations, regeneration will be encouraged through fire and livestock control.
Cutting pattern and allowable cut within the production series
Cuttings are planned by block in order to better control forest logging operations and concentrate all the work associated with cutting in one area for better monitoring.

A 20-year cut rotation has been established. Each compartment in the series will therefore be logged once and only once throughout the whole management period (1993-2012). In the shrub savanna, this rotation will make it possible to replenish a merchantable firewood stock (2 m3/ha/year, or 40 m3/ha, if there is effective fire protection) and to select the best stems. These will be treated so as to convert the stand to high-forest. The latter will be periodically thinned until it reaches the revolution age of 80 years, which should correspond to the time required to obtain merchantable diameters. On the other formations, this period will make it possible for the best stems to react to thinning which will have been deliberately carried out to benefit them.

In conclusion:

- the shrub savannas are logged over their entire surface area by clear-felling (a systematic felling of all the species which are equal to or above 7 cm in diameter);

- tree savannas and savanna woodlands, which are more valuable, will be marked throughout their total area and thinned (to extract the trees which have achieved a merchantable diameter and preserve fruit and fodder trees);

- the forest patches, the prairie lands (including the grass savannas) and the cleared agricultural land will not be cut except in particular instances, for example, where the stands are very dense (over 400 stems/ha), with a minimum area of 1 ha, where thinning operation will be carried out to benefit the most promising trees.

The fire and range land management rules may be summarized as follows:
- for fires, it will be essential to completely protect a compartment for three years, after which early prescribed burning will be carried out each year;

- for livestock, a particular management plan will be implemented, because SODEFOR’s objective is:

In practice, overgrazing whole blocks will be encouraged during five years before the first cutting operation in the block. Once this cutting has taken place, there will be a total ban on grazing throughout the block until three years following the harvesting of the last compartment in the block. For the first five years, these compartments will be submitted to early prescribed burning, and then grazing will be authorized all year-round.

6. Measures to involve the neighbouring populations

6.1 Limiting the extension of agricultural lands
6.2 Supervision of the livestock producers
6.3 Establishment of a Peasants-Forests Commission

6.1 Limiting the extension of agricultural lands

Since there will be no extension of cleared or cultivated surface areas, SODEFOR will encourage the conclusion of contracts for all the agricultural lands currently in use in the reserved forest (1 100 ha). Under these contracts the farmers will guarantee establishing and maintaining small Khaya senegalensis plots between which food crops will be grown. The length of the contract will be limited by soil fertility not by tree growth, the plots being spaced 10 m apart. The farmers will be paid for their work in the benefit of forest trees.

Subsequently, SODEFOR envisages:

- providing assistance to resettle the peasant farmers outside the reserved forests (south of Bandama) particularly by intensifying cropping;

- giving priority to involving the local people in the work (wood extraction, collecting cashew nuts, nurseries, fire lookouts, hunting wardens, planting and managing forest trees) and supporting their organization into village groups;

- supporting diversification activities in the neighbouring villages (raising wild animals, apiculture, etc.) in order to increase their incomes.

6.2 Supervision of the livestock producers

The stock-breeders and SODEFOR have jointly agreed on the following:

- to give the herdsmen permits to graze the fire-breaks measuring 27 000 × 200 m; under the contract the herdsmen will be eventually given improved grazing land (sown with Stylosanthes, with water points, etc.) and will maintain the fire-breaks in the dry season by controlled early burning (the herdsmen will be paid for this maintenance work);

- the herdsmen will be granted permits over the grazing land series, free of charge, throughout the period of management;

- herd rotation, with priority on the blocks which will shortly afterwards be cut; incentives will be provided to encourage this rotation (installing salt licks, water points, feed supplements, etc.).

6.3 Establishment of a Peasants-Forests Commission

A Peasants-Forests Commission (PFC) was set up for all the administrative authorities, the representatives of the villagers and the livestock producers, the organizations supervising crop farmers and animal breeders, and the head of the SODEFOR sector.

7. Remarks on the state of the Badénou forest in March 1995

The main remarks following the visit to the Badénou classified forest are:

1. Huge resources have been placed at the disposal of the foresters responsible for this pilot management scheme: living quarters for the technicians (estimated cost 60-80 million CFAF), a large fire-break network (opened with a D8 bulldozer and subcontracted), bridge-building, etc. All of this seems to move in the opposite direction of the original options selected: local financing without unaffordable recurrent costs.

2. The needs of the livestock producers have been properly taken into account, and in particular:

- a north-south transhumance corridor, for which they are entirely responsible, including ignition of prescribed early fires;

- closure limited to three years after logging;

- a grazing series open throughout the year, covering 625 ha (2.3 percent of the total forest area) is reserved for the livestock breeders, in addition to the 22 778 ha of the production series, except for the recently harvested blocks.

However, the risks of disputes with the neighbouring villages are not entirely absent.

3. The ‘Peasants-Forests Commission’ has been set up, but it would appear that not all the issues dealt with have been solved. Knowing that the people that have settled in the forests will eventually have to move, it seems that they are still only partially integrated (except with regard to labour: the dry nursery [stumps] contract, the plantation and maintenance contract, the fire-watching contract). Logging (timber, firewood) has not yet started. In the reserved forest, the local people have limited rights of use whereas in the rural domain forest, they have usufruct rights (except for timber).

4. The farmers that have settled in the forests in the three villages (Nawavogo-Est, Larrovogo, Kawavogo) are no longer authorized to clear any new areas (for rice). In compensation they have provisional permission to cultivate huge areas of the 80 m wide tree-covered fire-breaks. They are also paid for a number of different works. However, agriculture should be intensified as the new breakdown of incomes from the sale of firewood is implemented (for inputs, selected seeds) so that the borders of the forests can be established once and for all.

5. Timber was analysed in 1988 by Techno-Forêt SA and in 1990 by the Direction et Contrôles des Grands Travaux (DCGTX). Firewood and timber consumption and needs are still unknown. Estimates are provided for each town (available potential and consumption per inhabitant) within the framework of a national energy plan.

6. The forest stands’ increments have been estimated based on the very little empirical data available and on merchantable diameters. Moreover, the inventory of all the woody vegetation implemented at a sampling rate of 0.3 percent in a context of management based on extractions per surface area (variable annual volume extractions), does not provide security to the economic agents (industrialists for timber, loggers/villagers for firewood) who would see their incomes varying very largely from one year to the next.

7. Despite all the efforts that have been made, particularly to help the livestock and crop farmers, the key point of sustainable management is that there must be joint management of everything that is subsequently intended to become a ‘common asset’. The pilot project is only just beginning and a number of adjustments will have to be made in directing it over the next few months.

In conclusion, SODEFOR has taken a fairly traditional approach to forest management which is well-known in the countries of the North. The farmers will eventually be kept out of the forests. The management of Badénou does not make provision for an agricultural series unlike the forests in Côte d’Ivoire in which human encroachment is much wider. Conversely, a real effort is being made to help the livestock producers, to the benefit of both parties involved.

Case Study based on the following documents: SODEFOR (1993); Affoué (1995).

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