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Let’s make the desert green again

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Lignaverda_De woestijn weer groen maken

Empowering local communities in the Louga region of Senegal

In 2011, the African Union launched an ambitious project: the Great Green Wall, a massive strip of trees 15 km wide and nearly 8,000 km long in the Sahel, aimed at combating climate change and desertification. As the tree plantations did not progress smoothly everywhere, this project shifted towards smaller-scale initiatives focused on local nature restoration and community support. 

In northern Senegal, in the Louga region, the climate is influenced by hot and dry continental winds. The average annual temperature often exceeds 35 degrees Celsius. With a maximum of 24 rainy days per year and uneven rainfall, agriculture without irrigation is limited to 3-4 months. Water scarcity imposes significant constraints on agriculture. Human activities, such as logging for household use (cooking and construction) and livestock farming, heavily contribute to deforestation. The scarce forests are also highly threatened by forest fires, often caused by poor forest management.

Reforestation with agroforestry systems

In collaboration with the local population, forest management committees are established for the creation and sustainable management of community forests. Training sessions are conducted on water harvesting and forest planting techniques to overcome drought stress when establishing agroforestry systems.

Weather stations are installed in the Louga region to collect data for refining the VITO CLIMTAG tool (The CLimate InforMation porTal for Agriculture). This enables seasonal climate predictions, allowing farmers to adjust their crop choices and planting calendars accordingly.

Furthermore, agroforestry systems are combined with irrigation through wells or advanced water collection systems such as artificial water catchment basins. These basins are filled during the rainy season and used as irrigation sources for horticulture during the following 6 months.

This strengthens the capacities of local communities in the Louga region to contribute to the African Union's Great Green Wall initiative.

Expected results

Six forest management committees will plant trees, manage, and protect community forests.

At four locations (Mbar Toubab, Wendou Delby, Loumboul Djiby, and Ngaydoum), reforestation activities will be combined with agroforestry systems to promote food security. Weather stations will be installed at each location, and members of the forest management committees will be trained in using sensors and collecting and transmitting data such as rainfall, temperature, humidity, soil moisture, etc.

A revolving fund will be established at each location to support farmers from participating communities in purchasing necessary resources for agroforestry, such as tools, irrigation pipes, seeds, fertilizers, etc. Artificial water catchment basins will be constructed at two locations (Mbar Toubab and Loumboul Djiby), while irrigation systems fed by existing local water wells will be installed at the other two locations (Wendou Delby and Ngaydoum).

Project coordinator
Lignaverda
Total budget
€ 579.050,62
Amount of subsidy
€ 491.612,62
Start date
01/03/2024
Project type
Dissemination and/or capacity building project

Would you like to know more about this project?

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Wouter Vanhove

Wouter Vanhove

Operational Director Lignaverda
wouter.vanhove@lignaverda.org