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Three decades of Faidherbia albida agroforestry in Far North Region, Cameroon

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Authors: Amah Akodéwou, Oumarou Palou Madi, Faustin Ambomo Tsanga, Romain Rousgou and Régis Peltier

General - 2024

ISSUE No.: 62

DOI: http://doi.org/10.55515/BTBP7343

Language: English

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Agroforestry plays a vital role in the economic and ecological sustainability of semi-arid and subhumid regions of Africa, particularly in combating climate change, land degradation, and meeting food and fuelwood needs. In the Sahelian climate, farmer managed natural regeneration (FMNR) is a cost-effective agroforestry practice, that involves selecting, protecting and managing spontaneous tree regrowth, notably of Faidherbia albida, a legume species well-suited for FMNR in semi-arid areas. In the Far North Region of Cameroon, agroforestry parklands with Faidherbia albida have been supported by various projects for the last three decades.

Farmers have been provided with subsidies to protect trees in their fields, resulting in the conservation of close to two million Faidherbia albida trees. These trees provide significant economic benefits to rural populations, contributing to increased crop yields, especially in nutrient-poor soils, and provide significant firewood savings and nitrogen rich animal fodder during the sparse dry season when livestock are most in need. They also provide ecological benefits, as they store carbon and conserve biodiversity, contributing to climate change mitigation.

These benefits have motivated the expansion of FMNR even in the face of farmers no longer receiving subsidies. To ensure its sustainability, certain conditions must be met, including security of tenure, effective enforcement of sustainable management practices, continued project support, dissemination of convincing research results, regular incentives from government and international organisations, and low-cost labour and input methods. By adhering to these conditions, agroforestry can continue to play a crucial role in enhancing livelihoods and environmental resilience in the Sahel. 

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