What did we do with successes booked a decade ago ?

Photo credit: WVC 1990-07 Fraternisation 08

Arbolle, Prov. Passoré, Burkina Faso: Bois de la Fraternisation

Splendid growth of Acacia nilotica, planted in 1988, already 3 m high in 1990

Originally published at:



Successful reforestation in Burkina Faso / Reboisement réussi au Burkina Faso

Martin H. STAPLE’s comment


Stumbled across this page entirely by chance this evening (20.03.2007) while searching for something else – what a brilliant project! What has the response of the local people and the authorities been? Have there been no problems with people foraging for firewood, or with grazing goats etc.?
Success stories like this deserve to be made much more well-known.

Thanks, Martin, for this nice comment. Referring to a former message on this blog (November 19, 2006), you recognized the remarkable success of our reforestation project. A splendid young wood was developed in a very short period and this without any irrigation, only rainfed. How was this possible ? Well, there is no secret at it! We only applied our soil conditioner TerraCottem (www.terracottem.com) at the beginning of the rainy season way back in 1988, planted different species of tree seedlings from a local nursery and left it to the annual rain to keep the roots moistened enough for continuous growth (also in the 9 months of dry season, mainly through capillary water !). The rain was stocked every year thereafter in TerraCottem’s water absorbent polymers, the moistened soil was continuously setting free more nutrients (mineralisation) and the enhancing organic matter stimulates microbiological activities. We registered a gradual invasion of local herbaceous and woody plant species without any additional seeding or planting, followed by the appearance of an amazing number of animals (insects, birds, reptiles, mammals). Nature responded positively !

Looking back, we noticed that we restored nature with ONE SINGLE ACTION : planting young trees with TerraCottem !

Now, let me come back to your questions : “What has the response of the local people and the authorities been? Have there been no problems with people foraging for firewood, or with grazing goats etc.?”.

Well, Martin, can’t you guess the answers ?

The local people reacted splendidly : they appreciated the reappearance of the former wood (which they had destroyed themselves when collecting firewood !) and they were very happy when we told them 10 years after plantation that now they could even install very small gardens (a few square meter each) here and there in the shade of the trees. You had to see the stars in their eyes !

As for the authorities, they got a report and a Power Point Presentation of the results. We were congratulated with “the nice initiative” and they “would see what they could do about it“.

The local people, having their little fields under the canopies, fully respect the newly formed young wood. They certainly do not allow the cattle to penetrate in the wood (protection of their gardens !).

And the little wood itself ? It is since then expanding by dispersal of seeds from the magnificent trees.

Thanks again, Martin, for your conclusion : “ Success stories like this deserve to be made much more well-known.” With your comment, you contributed to this. After so many years we still hope that authorities, international or national organizations, NGOs or other aid organizations will have the same feeling as yours : this example merits to be multiplied at a very large scale, making successful reforestation as simple as can be.

That day will come !


1988-12 Fraternisation 03
Photo WVC 1988-12 Bois de la Fraternisation 03 : Arbollle (Passoré Province, Burkina Faso) – 4 months after planting tree seedlings with TerraCottem, the team of the University of Ghent-Belgium (Patrick VERVALCKE and Julien DE KEYSER) measure the young trees to study the optimal dosage of the soil conditioner. —————-1988-12 : Arbollle (Passoré Province, Burkina Faso) – 4 mois après la plantation des jeunes pieds d’arbre avec le TerraCottem, l’équipe de Université de Gand-Belgique (Patrick VERVALCKE et Julien DE KEYSER) mesurent les jeunes arbres pour étudier le dosage optimal du conditionneur de sol.


1998-12 Fraternisation 10
Photo WVC 1998-12 Bois de la Fraternisation 10 – 1998-12 : Arbollle (Passoré Province, Burkina Faso) – 10 years later a magnificent young is formed without any irrigation and the only thing we did was planting tree seedlings with TerraCottem. Why should other reforestation projects not set up a test with it? ———— 1998-12 : Arbollle (Passoré Province, Burkina Faso) – 10 ans après, un jeune bois magnifique a été formé sans aucune irrigation et la seule chose que nous avons fait, c’est de planter les jeunes pieds d’arbre avec du TerraCottem. Pourquoi les autres projets de reboisement n’organiseraient-ils pas un test avec ce produit belge?


Reforestation and agriculture in Burkina Faso

Photo credit: WVC 1997-12

Acacia nilotica in Bois de la Fraternisation (Arbolle, Prov. du Passore, Burkina Faso) – Reforestation project of TC-Dialogue Foundation (Belgium): trees planted in 1988 with soil conditioner TerraCottem

Farming the Desert | EARTH A New Wild

As the desert in West Africa’s Sahel region began growing faster than ever in the 1970s and 1980s and many farmers left the land, a farmer in a small town in northern Burkina Faso developed creative methods to restore soils damaged by drought. Yacouba Sawadogo innovated on regionally well-known farming techniques to create a large, easy-to-farm forested area, working with his community to reinvent agriculture in the region.

See the video: PBS Learning Media


Desertification: the scientific consensus report

Photo credit: WVC 1988-12

TC-Dialogue Foundation’s reforestation project in Arbolle

(Prov. du Passoré, Burkina Faso)


Context – Desertification is the persistent degradation of dryland ecosystems.

It threatens the livelihoods of some of the poorest and most vulnerable populations on the planet. Desertification is largely caused by unsustainable use of scarce resources.

What options exist to avoid or reverse desertification and its negative impacts?

The same wood (Bois de la Fraternisation) in Arbolle in July 1994 (Photo WVC 1994-07)
The same wood (Bois de la Fraternisation) in Arbolle in July 1994 (Photo WVC 1994-07)

This Digest is a faithful summary of the leading scientific consensus report produced in 2005 by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA): “Desertification Synthesis Report”

Read the full article: GreenFacts

Fighting desertification with trees in Chad

Photo credit: Willemien – Committee Maastricht-Niou

Bois de la Fraternisation – Arbolle – Burkina Faso

Acacia nilotica planted in 1988 with soil conditioner TerraCottem

Reforestatiion Project of the Canadian Cooperation, Committee Maastricht-Niou and TC-Dialogue Foundation

Chad: 8000 trees planted in Bahaï to fight against the desertification of the region

At the start of September, with the support of ACTED’s teams the refugees and local population 8,000 new acacias and leucaenas next to the Ouré Cassoni camp of Sudanese refugees, in the East of Chad, to fight against the desertification.

The camp contributes to the already precarious environmental equilibrium of this particular zone, as the presence of the refugees increases the strain on the scarce natural resources.

Since 2007, to respond to this issue ACTED has created areas of reforestation and of fixation of sand dunes, within the framework of our activities supporting the Sudanese refugees of the camp.

This project will benefit both the refugees and the autochthones. These trees resist to the arid soils and will grow over 4 to 5 years and will be taken care of by the autochthonous and refugee populations.

Source: ACTED

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