Small is beautiful: Restoring degraded lands, one parcel at a time
The Aichi Biodiversity Targets agreed in Nagoya in 2012 included restoring 15% of the world’s degraded ecosystems by 2020 (Target 15). Subsequent assessments have led to estimates that for terrestrial ecosystems, this 15% means restoring a staggering 350 million hectares – and requires billions of tons of tree seed and trillions of seedlings.
In the third blog in the CBD COP13 Forest and Landscape Restoration Blog Series, Bioversity International partner, Mr Harouna Kaboré, a Mossi farmer from the village Manefyam in the province of Kourwéogo, Burkina Faso, talks about his experience restoring three hectares of his household’s degraded lands in the context of a newly launched research initiative on nutrition-sensitive forest restoration.
Mr Kaboré is a 38-year-old farmer and father of seven. In his fields in Manefyam, he displays his skills and experience restoring three hectares of degraded lands through fencing to protect the natural regeneration of trees, selectively tilling, and sowing or selectively planting trees. A self-motivated man, he has planted 2800 trees of value for medicine, nutrition and income over a 10 year period on land that was previously degraded. Due to natural mortality, many of the trees have not survived, but his efforts are relentless. With the support of the burkinabé association tiipaalga, he has also learned about the uses of many species previously unknown to him that now grow in his protected fields; and many species that were previously only encountered in distant areas have also populated these lands. Some came on their own and he no longer has to purchase their goods on the market.
According to Mr Kaboré, in this fenced area, plants grow taller and faster because they are protected from animals. He finds that the high mix of species is beneficial for his trees, and also for the crops growing around the protected area, as the bees living in the cavities of large trees pollinate his crops.
An innovator, Mr Kaboré has devised a low technology drip irrigation system to water his seedlings. Every week, this system slowly but steadily delivers his prized seedlings with 20 liters of water, one drop at a time.