With 80 000 ha of forest cover cleared each year, including 30 000 ha to produce charcoal, Senegal has lost half of its forest in 20 years. Nowadays, its forest resource, which covers just 25% of the country, is continuing to shrink as a result of numerous factors, including a severe drought, which lasted for three decades up to the late 1990s. Is this catastrophic vision a consequence of climatic factors alone, of an uncontrollable increase in demand from urban areas, or of bad management at national level?
An analysis of the situation in the field tipped the balance in favour of the latter two options. This was shown by the results of a two-year research programme conducted by CIRAD, in partnership with the World Resource Institute (WRI) and the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA). In effect, the economic and political issues surrounding charcoal production often run counter to sustainable management measures.
The decentralization laws drawn up are generally sufficient to give local councils real decision-making and operating powers. However, it is clear that those powers are often still held higher up, giving central government and public services arbitrary responsibility for executing those laws. As a result, players outside local communities often have completely free access to and use of the available resources. They set up new authorities, often at village level, which tend to compete with rural councils, promoting confustion as to the distribution of responsibility. The context favours various forms of private management and the reaffirmation by State representatives of their role as guarantors of natural resources, while local people, who make a living from natural resources, are invited to participate in maintaining those resources to ensure sustainable management.
What can be done to ensure that power is really transferred to local communities? The programme recommended making changes along three lines: taxes, timber licences and management schemes. The recommendations question the legitimate authority of the State and the local councils' room for manoeuvre. Taxes need to be harmonized, established and monitored at both local and national level, so as not to favour one region over another and to prevent exhaustion of the resource. The situation concerning the laws governing timber cutting is confused to say the least: local councillors can sign felling authorizations, but it is actually forest service staff members who issue licences. Lastly, the forestry code imposes complex forest management systems, notably for charcoal production, while the decentralization code allows for simplified management schemes.
Helen Burford | alfa
New 3-D model predicts best planting practices for farmers
26.06.2017 | Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Fighting a destructive crop disease with mathematics
21.06.2017 | University of Cambridge
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
26.06.2017 | Life Sciences
26.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
26.06.2017 | Information Technology