Research

Bioreclamation of degraded lands
Improved soil fertility, harvested rainwater and a succesful tree-crop system.
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Building Africa’s Great Green Wall
Restoration needs and opportunities in Africa’s Great Green Wall have been mapped and quantified for the first time with the aim of catalysing action to increase the resilience of people and landscapes to climate change.
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Expanding Africa’s Great Green Wall
Desertification and land degradation are very serious challenges. They lead to hunger and poverty, driving unemployment, forced migration and conflict, while amplifying climate risks as drought and floods. But recent successes show that these problems are not insurmountable. Bold action and investments in sustainable land management can boost food security, improve livelihoods and help people adapt to climate change.
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Action Against Desertification – Capacity Development
Capacity development is at the heart of Action Against Desertification’s efforts to combat land degradation, desertification and drought. A capacity development strategy is in place to strengthen the capacities of individuals and organizations in sustainable land management and restoration, and to support the establishment of an enabling policy and legal environment at local, national, and regional level to increase the impact and ensure sustainability of activities carried out under Action Against Desertification.
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Action Against Desertification – Monitoring and Evaluation
Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) are essential to keep track of the progress made and to measure the bio‑physical and socio‑economic impact of the activities carried out under Action Against Desertification. M&E also helps Action Against Desertification deliver results by making sure that the objectives are clearly defined and achievable, that data collection is well planned and that data are used for decisionmaking and to continuously improve the programme.
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Action Against Desertification – Land restoration
Restoration activities led by FAO and its partners demonstrate that land degradation around the Sahara is not yet irreversible. Action Against Desertification promotes a restoration approach that places communities at the heart of restoration by putting scientific plant expertise at their service and focusing on the needs of communities for useful and native plant species and preferences for restoration in support of their livelihoods, mainly farming and cattle grazing.
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Agro-environmental transformation in the Sahel
A farmer-managed, agro-environmental transformation has occurred over the past three decades in the West African Sahel, enabling both land rehabilitation and agricultural intensification to support a dense and growing population. This paper traces the technical and institutional innovations, their impacts, and lessons learned from two successful examples.
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Integrating disaster management and poverty reduction
In light of the growing theoretical and policy paradigm of integrating disaster reduction and poverty alleviation efforts (World Conference on Natural Disaster Reduction Yokohama 1994; Wisner et al. 2004), China sought to blend risk and vulnerability reduction, disaster mitigation, and poverty alleviation in its short-term recovery program following the Wenchuan earthquake (Dunford and Li 2011). The task of integrating these policy goals, however, remains relatively recent, much remains to be done, and many knowledge gaps remain to be filled (Huang and Li 2012). This chapter introduces the concepts of disaster and poverty, reviews the available literature on their interaction during the Wenchuan earthquake, and recommends ways to better combine these two policy agendas, with community-based disaster management (CBDM) figuring centrally.
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Agricultural growth in West-Africa
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Future of food – Environment
The looming environmental and humanitarian crisis is on a scale we cannot imagine. The world’s ecosystems and the services they provide, as well as the natural biodiversity of the planet are fast approaching tipping points from which there is no return. This document shows just how fast these environmental tipping points are approaching. It also shows that if something is not done about it now, in our own lifetime, we will witness an environmental catastrophe that will forever change the fabric of the natural world. Fortunately, however there is a way our behaviour can dramatically and rapidly change the course of environmental ruin, this solution is made clear at the end of each section. Every point in this document has been carefully selected from government agencies, environmental organisations, charities, and reputable news sources. Each section follows a problem, cause, timeline, and solution structure. Each point has been abbreviated, with the exact quote following below, along with the publication that it was taken from. There is an very interesting chapter to be found about desertification.
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Living in and from the forests of central Africa
Since time immemorial, non-wood forest products (NWFPs), particularly wild forest foods, have played an important role in the diets and health of people living in and outside forests, in both rural and urban areas.
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A matter of method: Merve Wilkinson’s Wildwood Tree Farm
On 137 acres near the east shore of Vancouver Island, Merve Wilkinson has spent a lifetime learning about managing for a whole forest. His example has enlarged people’s view of what is possible with forest management in British Columbia and elsewhere. Thousands of people visit Wildwood each year, including foresters from all over the world. Merve continues to enjoy learning and teaching.
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Desertification – Why most solutions fail
According to the U.N., 70% of the world’s dryland areas are desertifying. How and why this happens, why most fixes fail. Links to methods that work.
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Anti desertification plants
The plant species in this list are particularly well suited to combat desertification. By Prof. Dr. Willem Van Cotthem.
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Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel initiative
To tackle desertification and land degradation desertification affects millions of the most vulnerable people in Africa, where two-thirds of the land cover consists of drylands and deserts.Contrary to popular perception, desertification is not the loss of land to the desert or through sand-dune movement. Desertification refers to land degradation in arid, semi-arid and sub-humid areas resulting from factors such as human pressure on fragile eco-systems, deforestation and climate change. Desertification and land degradation have a strong negative impact on the food security and livelihoods of the local communities in Africa’s drylands, home to the world’s poorest populations. In 2007, African Heads of State and Government endorsed the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel Initiative with the objective of tackling the detrimental social, economic and environmental impacts of land degradation and desertification in the region. The initiative aims to support the efforts of local communities in the sustainable management and use of forests, rangelands and other natural resources in drylands. It also seeks to contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation, as well improve the food security and livelihoods of the people in the Sahel and the Sahara.
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Leave no one behind – Addressing climate change for a world free of poverty and hunger
Poverty is one of the biggest obstacles to human development and economic growth. About 2.1 billion people still live in poverty and 900 million live in extreme poverty. Most of them live in rural areas and depend on agriculture and rural livelihoods for their income and food security. Evidence shows that climate change is already hurting the rural poor, damaging infrastructure, depressing crop yields, jeopardizing fish stocks, eroding natural resources and endangering species, causing significant damage to agriculture, water resources, ecosystems, and human health. With the adoption of the new Sustainable Development Agenda 2030, countries have renewed their commitment to fight against poverty, hunger and malnutrition, acknowledging that tackling climate change is key for moving people out of poverty. Target 1.5 of SDG 1 (End poverty) pays special attention to building resilient livelihoods and helping the rural poor reduce their exposure and vulnerability to climate change and natural disasters. As part of its mandate to eradicate hunger, poverty and foster sustainable agriculture, FAO is supporting countries to achieve effective pro-poor development in the face of climate change, promoting multi-sectoral, pro-poor and climate-informed development policies, sustainable and inclusive production, diversification and decent rural employment, as well as risk informed and shock responsive social protection systems, with a view to leaving no one behind.
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Agriculture and Food Security in Africa’s Drylands – Meeting the reality of small scale farmers
This paper examines the existing divide between current development policies related to agriculture and those related to drylands (at the international level, as well as those of the Dutch government) and the reality of food production in these, often hostile (physical and economic) environments. It argues that ‘silver-bullet’ solutions are unlikely to be successful in such situations and that far more
grassroots involvement is required in selecting, developing and experimenting with new approaches to solving the food crisis. The central role of women in food production also needs to be acknowledged and supported if any progress is to be made towards meeting MDG1. Marrying local knowledge with scientific knowledge is not an easy task. Neither is it easy to align the interests of local communities with the priorities and operating procedures of donors and external agencies. But these challenges have to be faced. This paper points out the challenges and suggestions are made for potential ways forward.
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Re-greening the Sahel: making the difference in Niger
Land degradation threatens the traditional livelihoods of millions of people in the Sahel. Both ENDS and local partners in Niger support a locally devised method for restoring degraded land with original vegetation. This successful low-cost, low-technology method enhances local food security and ecological stability in a participatory way
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Rich Forests – The future of forested landscapes and their communities
Land degradation threatens the traditional livelihoods of millions of people in the Sahel. Both ENDS and local partners in Niger support a locally devised method for restoring degraded land with original vegetation. This successful low-cost, low-technology method enhances local food security and ecological stability in a participatory way
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What We Can Do to Restore Vegetation to the Desert
We talk to Mr. Yoshio Kitaura of the G-Net NPO that made it possible for the team from Hitachi Group to work as volunteers on the Horqin Desert Greening Project in China.
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Research focused on The Gambia

Forest Area Statistics
Extent of forest and other wooded land in the Gambia
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Planted forests
Fuelwood is the most important energy use in the country with around 85 percent of the energy requirement being met by wood. According to a study conducted in 1973, the country would need about 100 000 ha of plantations to meet the demand for timber and fuelwood by 2000 (FAO, 1991 and FD, 1992).
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The Gambia and FAO Partnering to achieve food security and nutrition
Since the establishment of FAO Representation in the Islamic Republic of the Gambia in 1979, organizational work has given vital support for the development of agriculture and natural resource sectors – primarily through the Technical Cooperation Programme, Telefood, Trust Fund, Emergency and various regional programmes. FAO has implemented more than 120 projects supporting agriculture and natural resource development, as well as facilitating the creation of policies, programs and projects that contribute to improved production, productivity, food quality and national technical and institutional capacities. In 2014, Gambia achieved the Millennium Development Goal 1 hunger target of halving the proportion of hungry people in the country by 2015.
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National plan for implementation of Great Green Wall for the Sahara & Sahel Initiative for the Gambia
Part one of the National Action Plan describes the main bottlenecks (from the technical, ecosystems, policy, institutional and financial perspectives) and opportunities for Sustainable Land Management up –
scaling and mainstreaming. Priority areas of intervention to effectively rehabilitate degraded lands, reclaim desertified lands and reverse land degradation, particularly through the removal of all barriers (political, legal, institutional, financial and technical) that limit the consideration of Sustainable Land Management at all levels are elaborated.

Part two point to a number of underlying strategies to be followed on a pilot phase to fight against desertification, climate changes and loss of biological diversity form enhanced rural livelihoods in the Northern Regions of The Gambia. Lessons learnt during the implementation of the pilot will logically influence the up – scaling of the initiative to other Regions of The Gambia.
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