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Historia Publication logo Septiembre 14, 2023

Unrestrained Logging Threatens Reforestation Projects to Combat Desertification (French)

a person with wood

Initiatives to combat desertification face major challenges.

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This story excerpt was translated from French. To read the original story in full, visit Mongabay. You may also view the original story on the Rainforest Journalism Fund website. Our website is available in EnglishSpanishbahasa IndonesiaFrench, and Portuguese.

  • Reforestation projects aimed at combating desertification in Chad and Cameroon, such as the Great Green Wall and the Reboisement 1400 projects, are experiencing increased deterioration of their forest ecosystems as a result of human actions.
  • Faced with poverty and corruption, people in these regions indulge in abusive cutting of shrubs on a daily basis, even in protected areas, to make firewood for households, or to produce charcoal for commercial purposes.
  • Environmental organizations, local elected representatives and local authorities are warning of the scale of this deforestation, which is encouraging the desert to advance into these areas.
  • Alternative solutions to reduce abusive logging have been proposed and even implemented, but have not succeeded in diverting farmers from reforested areas.

MOKOLO, Cameroon — The sun is almost at its zenith this late morning on a Saturday in July in the village of Mansour-Sabongari.

Local young people, gathered at the foot of a shrub, chat in the shade of a forest plantation set up thanks to a project called Reboisement 1400, which has greened the landscape of Mansour-Sabongari, located in northern Cameroon in a savanna zone with a very hot desert climate, much to the delight of the villagers.

"Before, even during this period (the rainy season), it was really hot as soon as the sun came out. Now we don't feel the heat so much, and we can protect ourselves from the sun under these trees," says Idrissou Saliou, a young resident of the township.

In Gaoui, some 10 kilometers from N'Djamena, the capital of Chad, Roger Alkali, a Chadian, lounges in a reforested garden created by the Great Green Wall (Grande Muraille Verte) project. This gigantic initiative aims to restore 100 million hectares of degraded land in 11 Sahelian African countries by 2030.

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"We now breathe clean air compared with other places. Even if some of the site's neighbors often come and illegally cut down the trees to make wood. We are called upon to protect this green barrier to save us from the very hot climate."

Un site reboisé du projet « Reboisement 1400 » à Mansour-Sabongari au Cameroun, qui fait désormais la fierté des habitants de la localité.
A reforested site from the Reboisement 1400 project in Mansour-Sabongari, Cameroon, now the pride of the local people. Image by Yannick Kenné. 2023.
La Cassia Siamea, une des espèces utilisés pour le reboisement des terres dégradées dans le projet « Reboisement 1400 » au nord du Cameroun.
Cassia Siamea, one of the species used to reforest degraded land in the Reboisement 1400 project in northern Cameroon. Image by Yannick Kenné. 2023.
Un site du projet la « Grande muraille verte » à Dinéo, inondé à la suite de pluies diluviennes.
A site of the Great Green Wall project in Dinéo, which was flooded after torrential rains. Image by Sabre Na-Ideyam. Chad, 2023.
Le charbon écologique est une alternative à la coupe du bois dans les zones de savanes sèches, mais reste une solution ponctuelle et pas durable.
Ecological charcoal is an alternative to woodcutting in dry savannas areas, but it remains an ad hoc and unsustainable solution. Image by Yannick Kenné. Chad, 2023.
Du charbon de bois commercialisé par des femmes dans les marchés de N’Djaména.
Women sell charcoal in the markets of N'Djamena. Image courtesy of IAL Tchad Presse. Chad, 2022.
Des arbustes coupés abusivement dans la réserve forestière de Zamay par les réfugiés nigérianes pour le bois de chauffage.
Shrubs abusively cut by Nigerian refugees for firewood in the Zamay forest reserve. Image by Yannick Kenné. Cameroon, 2023.
Des femmes du village Mansour-Sabongari, de retour de la savane avec des fagots de bois ont le pas alerte, et redoutent d’éventuelles interpellations des agents du ministère des forêts et de la faune camerounais.
Women from the village of Mansour-Sabongari return from the savanna with bundles of wood. They are on alert, fearing possible arrest by agents of Cameroon's Ministry of Forests and Wildlife. Image by Yannick Kenné. Cameroon, 2023.
Un réfugié nigérian du camp de Minawao transporte un tronc d’arbres sec sur sa bicyclette, qu’il utilisera comme bois de chauffage pour la cuisson dans son ménage.
A Nigerian refugee from the Minawao camp carries a dry tree trunk on his bicycle, which he will use as firewood for cooking in his household. Image by Yannick Kenné. Cameroon, 2023.
Dans la commune de Mokolo, les villageois ont fait de la coupe et de la vente du bois de chauffage une activité lucrative.
In the commune of Mokolo, villagers have made cutting and selling firewood a lucrative activity. Image by Yannick Kenné. Cameroon, 2023.
Une plantation forestière créée à proximité du camp des réfugiés de Minawao, mais qui reste menacée d’exploitation.
A forest plantation created near the Minawao refugee camp. The plantation remains threatened by exploitation. Image by Yannick Kenné. Cameroon, 2023.