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Innovative Platforms as a parkland management strategy – examples from Nobere, Kougpaka and Petit-Samba in Burkina Faso

Published: 06 April 2020
People sitting at a table indoors, photo.

Since 2018, three Innovative Platforms (IP) have been established to improve parkland management in three pilot villages, Nobere, Kougpaka and Petit-Samba, located each in the three agroecological zones of Burkina Faso (Sudanian, Sudano-Sahelian and Sahelian, respectively).

Parkland areas contain a mix of trees, shrubs and crops and are important for the livelihoods of the people residing in these regions in Burkina Faso. These platforms are a type of network, aiming to create synergy between stakeholders, to increase ecosystem functions of trees in parklands.

A workshop was held in each zone

In 2019, the IPs were enlarged to nine new villages (three villages around each pilot village) and a committee for parkland management was created in each village. At the end of the year, a workshop was held in each zone to share the results of IP activities and discuss different issues of parklands. Participants at the workshops were farmers, NGOs, traditional chiefs, local political decision makers and extension staff from forest, agriculture and livestock ministries. Copies of a leaflet and a policy brief dealing with parkland management and IP activities were distributed to participants.

With these documents as a starting point, the function of the IP was discussed with the participants focusing on the constraints and solutions for better parkland management in their particular zone. In addition, the function and benefit of a workplan for parkland management was elaborated on, in each village. The village committees were asked to develop their workplan as soon as possible and share it with their respective IP. The workplan or chart, as you can call it, should define actions that should improve parkland productivity, such as assisted natural regeneration, tree planting, and fight against tree parasites. The workplan also indicated practices that should be avoided, such as the ones causing degradation: bush fires, harvests of immature fruits, and tree cutting.

Radio program to get farmers engaged

As many farmers are not able to read, a radio program of one hour in local language was broadcasted in each zone. The program was conducted by a radio journalist together with the IP members. The set-up for these radio discussions were usually two farmers from the IP, one male and one female, together with NGO members, foresters and ministry officials. Directly when the program was broadcasted, audience were allowed to call and ask questions or give their point of view on parkland management. The aim of these radio programs was to get more farmers engaged and learn about how to best take care of their parklands in the different villages.

A farmer, Bonkoungou Harouna, who lives in Pissy village, called in to the show and asked if he could get some advice: “I am happy with what the project is doing. I have planted many trees in my field, but all died during the dry season. Could we get assistance in our village or do you have some advices for me?’’

The NGO representative at the broadcasting, Weogo La Viim, referred to how the IPs can assist and train you if you are doing parkland management. He also gave some specific advice: “For a successful planting you should choose a species adapted to our zone and plant early in the inter-harvest season. It is better to plant few trees which you are able to take care of (you need to be able to water the trees in the dry seasons and protect from animals). You can also do what we call Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) for some species which can generate better results.”

 Six people are sitting around a table with microphones in front of them indoors, photo.

During radio broadcasting at Radio Sud FM in Nobere. Photo credit: Roger K. GUIBRE

The process of implementing these village workplans or charts, being the aim of the project, will improve parkland productivity and conservation, while satisfying farmers’ needs of tree products, such as firewood and fruits. By doing this less pressure is put on natural forests. So far, this is proven successful, since tree density and diversity are starting to increase in the parklands. With farmers being organized in committees, assisted by forest agents and NGOs, the implementation of practices such as FMNR and tree planting are underway.


Madeleine Ostwald

Madelene Ostwald, Assoc. Prof.

Challenge leader of Challenge 2
Department of Thematic Studies/Environmental Change
Linköping University 
Telephone: +46 708-51 93 11