Farmer managed natural regeneration to reconstitute agroforestry parklands in Burkina Faso


Authors: Jean Charles Bambara

General - 2024

ISSUE No.: 62


Language: English


Burkina Faso is facing an accelerated degradation of natural resources, exacerbated by natural phenomena and human activities which, coupled with the impact of climate change and poverty, have caused food insecurity in the arid province of Passoré. To address these challenges, farmers have been implementing initiatives rooted in local knowledge and traditional practices. The practice of interest is farmer managed natural regeneration (FMNR), an ancestral agroforestry practice that protects and tends to spontaneous tree growth in agricultural fields.

A qualitative study conducted in the province of Passoré revealed farmers’ reasons for adopting FMNR. As a low-cost practice that requires few technical or financial resources, farmers are attracted to its affordability. FMNR also enables farmers to circumvent customary prohibitions regarding tree planting, and navigate land ownership dynamics, as it involves tending to spontaneous growth rather than deliberate planting. Since FMNR does not involve tree planting, it does not imply land ownership claims, making it inclusive for migrants and women who have limited land rights. By introducing indigenous species such as Piliostigma reticulatum (bangandé) FMNR helps meet energy needs called for by women, and improves the density of plant cover, restoring clearings while improving livelihoods. FMNR has been instrumental in empowering women by providing commercial opportunities in the non-timber forest product (NTFP) sector, enabling them to earn an independent income, strengthening their autonomy within the household.

FMNR has thus become integral to farming systems in Passoré due to its many tangible agronomic, environmental and socioeconomic benefits, offering solutions to land degradation, exclusion from tree planting projects, food insecurity and gender inequality. Broader dissemination of its potential for rapid restoration of forest resources at low cost is, therefore, recommended to help other regions of Burkina Faso overcome their challenges of degradation and climate change. 

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