1. Approach’s Outline and Features
To balance efforts to improve livelihoods and conserve mangrove ecosystems, a village activity package combining income-boosting and conservation activities, such as afforestation and firewood reduction, was established as an initiative which the residents themselves could manage.
While implementing the approach, spontaneous organizational change unfolded in one village and a young man with a vision to jointly manage local natural resources with surrounding villages spearheaded the village development, supported by the elderly who had been in leadership roles. Recognizing that outside support for afforestation activities was causing conflict between groups in another village, the target village voluntary implemented afforestation activities without outside support to restore unity and pride in the village.
Livelihood improvement, Mangrove ecosystem conservation, Environmental fund, PDCA cycle, Residents’ organization
2. Description of the project from which the approach is derived
In Senegal, mangrove areas have been declining and sustainable management has been a challenge. The Senegal Forest Policy (Politique Forestière du Sénégal) formulated in 2005, recommends that natural resource management be carried out with the participation of local residents. In response, the Senegalese government requested that JICA, which had conducted mangrove resource surveys from 2001 to 2005, assist in a project which would involve managing mangroves sustainably with the participation of local residents. This project involved targeting sustainable mangrove resource management by creating opportunities to improve livelihoods in the Saloum Delta, situated in the southwestern part of the Republic of Senegal.
2-2. Details of measures taken
- Residents’ activities within the target villages to manage natural resources sustainably were implemented by appropriately combining “rational use” and “conservation”. The specifics of each activity were as follows and residents learned and mastered the necessary skills:
- Rational uses of mangrove ecosystems include oyster farming, shellfish processing and the production of fishing baskets and ecotourism, etc. to ease the pressure on mangrove resources and improve livelihoods.
- Conservation activities include introducing improved stoves for household cooking and fish smoking to reduce firewood use, planting mangroves and establishing village forests as sources of charcoal, as a substitute for mangrove firewood.
- An environmental fund managed by village residents was established to redirect income generated from product sales during the above livelihood improvement activities to help fund afforestation activities.
- To support the above activities and help manage the Environmental Fund, work to consolidate the scope for organizational and financial management got underway, centering on the experiential learning cycle (PDCA cycle). Specifically, while supporting on-site activities, the project asked residents to plan and hold periodic meetings to present the results of their activities at their own initiative; encouraging them to reflect on and conceptualize their activities.
- In addition, several methods of dialogic organization development: AI (Appreciative Inquiry), World Café, Future Search and Action Learning, were introduced to strengthen the capacity of management to adapt to the ever-changing natural surroundings and prevailing socioeconomic environment.
(Perspectives on sustainability)
- At the end of the project, all target villages decided to distribute revenues to the Environmental Fund and two had already invested in the Environmental Fund. Accordingly, upon receiving income, it is expected that local residents will continue to draw on the Environmental Fund to help conserve the mangrove forests and restoration activities.
3. Analysis of the approach
- During the project period, reforestation work of mangrove species (Rhizophora spp. and Avicennia spp.) and the establishment of village forests for charcoal production progressed in all target villages. At the end of the project, residents had acquired skills and village residents’ organizations were functioning as a result of capacity building through experiential learning cycles. The total income from livelihood improvement activities in the entire target village was 1,647,400 FCFA.
- The change in local residents’ mentality brought by the project underpins the continued plantation of mangrove. The villagers, who used to think that trees belonged to the foresters, came to understand that planting and taking care of trees is for their own benefit in terms of protecting their environment and generating income.
3-2 Lessons learned
- The multifunctional aspects of mangrove ecosystems can be broadly divided into forest, fishery and tourism resources respectively. Reflecting on how to conserve each resource and use it rationally helps safeguard various options for adaptive and sustainable management. Conversely, the diverse deployment of resources has created diverse supply chains and stakeholders in terms of time and space and village-level efforts represent very partial trials. To maximize the profitability of the activities introduced by local residents, further and wider-scale efforts, such as assistance in accessing external markets, would be desirable.
- The potential area for mangroves has tended to change and decline following the degradation of the growing environment that began with the drought in the 1970s and the sea level rise in future. This project has seen afforestation techniques for Avicennia spp. developed and practiced, with some success. However, further research and innovative technologies, including work to enhance varieties, must be adapted to prevent the above changes.
- A series of processes, including awareness-raising activities by the project, residents’ own experiences of environmental and economic benefits and sharing of experiences among other residents, are considered to have helped the mangrove plantation remain in place. The awareness-raising activities involved residents being encouraged to understand the environmental and economic benefits of mangrove plantations. At that point, however, it remained “theoretical knowledge” rather than facts backed up by experience. Later, some of the residents having experienced the benefits shared their experiences with others. This was considered key to sufficiently motivating the residents to continue their activities voluntarily.
4. Relevant information
|NbS Approach Category
|Title of the project from which the approach is derived
|Enhancement of Sustainability in the Mangrove Forest Management of Saloum Delta in the Republic of Senegal
|The Republic of Senegal
|2005/11 – 2008/3
|Department of Waters, Forests, Hunting and Soil Conservation, Ministry of Environment, Protection of Nature, Reservoirs and Artificial Lakes
|Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Japan Forest Technology Association (JAFTA)
|Technical manuals of each activity
|Contributors to this article
Takuya Shiraishi/Oriental Consultants Global