Niger: Acacia Plantations
UNFCCC Reference No.: 9708
In the Sudano-Sahelian zone of the Republic of Niger, the land is highly degraded. It is either deforested or is the site of dry forests that are no longer able to naturally regenerate.
The Niger Acacia Plantations project is empowering rural communities to adopt sustainable agro-forestry practices by establishing 7,869 hectares of plantations using the native species Acacia Senegal. The project, an innovative public-private partnership, represents the first effort in Niger to establish Acacia Senegal plantations on a large scale in regions where dry forests are unable to regenerate by natural means. The project is implemented by Achats Services International (ASI), a local company, and the rural communities benefitting from the project.
Besides producing gum, the project allows the rehabilitation of degraded areas that have become unfit for agriculture. Acacia's rooting system is very powerful (subterranean biomass is twice the aerial part), which makes it efficient for dune-fixing as well as wind and water erosion control. Its nitrogen-fixing ability improves soil fertility up to restoring agriculture. The restoration of a tree cover will also benefit local biodiversity.
Social and Community Benefits:
Income will be provided from the sale of Arabic gum from the Acacia tree, as well as from the sale of emission reduction credits from the carbon sequestered in the plantations. ASI is guaranteeing the purchase of Arabic gum and emissions reductions at a fair price, allowing project participants a fair access to international markets. There project also results in technical transfer of know-how and training to the communities, especially in terms of best practices regarding tree selection, grafting, nursery technology and field monitoring.