Arbonaut and Senegalese partners Agence Nationale des Ecovillages (ANEV), AGRO ECO Services, Centre National de Recherches Forestières (CNRF), Groupe d’Intérêt Economique GIE Wakilaaré I and the Groupement de Promotion féminine (GPF) Foussatawu have implemented between January 2015 and November 2017 a Nordic Climate Facility granted project “Piloting REDD+ Monitoring and Non-Wood Forest Product Value Chains to Mitigate Green House Gas Emissions in the Rural Communities of Bandafassi”.
The project aims to support local entrepreneurship and reduce deforestation by introducing Non-Wood Forest Products (NWFPs) as an alternative for agricultural production as the main livelihood in the rural community of Bandafassi. The underlying objective is to limit the impact of degradation factors on Niokolo Koba National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and ensure the regulation of the flows of major rivers Niger, Senegal and Gambia. Bandafassi consists of 33 villages and 2,300 households.
The project had directs impacts in the livelihood with impacts also in gender aspects, since women mainly get trainings and new incomes, in food security by introducing new kind of nutrients in villages, and improvement has been seen also in schooling, when families used part of new incomes for schoolbooks and getting snacks and refreshments.
The project is targeting tree main outputs:
(i) REDD+ MRV methodology and system developed and piloted
(ii) Local entrepreneurship based on sustainable use of value-added NFWPs enhanced
(iii) Reduced volume of firewood through promotion of improved stoves
Piloting REDD+ MRV
In the context of REDD+ implementation, a MRV System is a sub-component of the National Forest Monitoring System (NFMS) to enable tracking carbon emissions and removals regards to forests. The carbon emissions and removals take place due to permanent land use and cover changes, forest degradation, growth (enhancement) and regeneration processes.
The pilot MRV system is based on mobile, desktop and web-based GIS software tools, which can be also operated independently from the NFMS system. GIS component of the MRV as well as mobile application have been developed to allow activity data collection and integrate it in to the MRV database. Currently the MRV system have been delivered to the Forest Services. The system does not demand any commercial license for its components and it relies on freely available satellite data and field data measurement data.
The piloted MRV system and methodologies are compliant with the UNFCCC and IPCC recommendation and guidelines. The web-based system hosts data on a server accessible through the Internet. Open data is accessible for everyone from the login access in this page.
In the national MRV workshop organised in May 31st, 2016, the reference period was confirmed as 2002-2015. Four sets of the reference maps within this period (year 2003, 2007, 2010, 2015) were produced using Landsat imagery for land use, cover and fire scar information. These work phases were conducted in compliance with the IPCC main land use and land cover categories (forestland, cropland, grassland, settlement, wetland, other land) and three forest canopy classes (open, medium dense and dense forest) for the land areas with higher than 10 % canopy cover. The accuracy assessment of each land use and cover product was assessed through visual assessment of the historical Google Earth imagery following a systematic sampling approach in Open Foris Collect. The timeseries analysis was carried out for detecting the land cover changes between the reference years.
Development of NWFP value chains
The selected NWFP for this project have been the Tamarind, Baobab, Mad, Shea Butter and Honey. A transformation center, including two rooms for production and a warehouse, powered by solar energy, has been built and equipped in the village of Bandafassi. Also, two ecological perimeters have been set in Bandafassi and Ibel villages for tree sapling production for reforestation activities. Those ecological perimeters are also utilized by the EIGs to cultivate vegetables.
In total, 24 youth and women in Economic Interest Groups (EIG) have been touched by the project activities, including more than 550 members from which 503 women. Nine of those groups are news and some old groups have been reactivated with new activities or got they legal status. They have been trained in NWFP harvesting, transformation and commercialization.
In addition, EIGs have been supported for micro credit to ensure the continuity of the activities after the project.
Two women in ten villages have been trained to build fixed improved stoves, an activity that have been especially welcomed by crafters and users. In addition, mobile improved stoves have been introduced . Those stoves have been provided to the EIG that sold a part of them and rent second part for example to families having a periodic need for making biggest amount of food for weddings etc.
Improved stoves users have been very satisfied with them. They mention 3 advantages: 2-3 times less work to collect dead wood, that is mainly the task of children and women; cooking time divided by two; exposure to smoke drastically reduced with a positive influence an eyes and throat irritation.