Hug each other, not the trees
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CTA. 2001. Hug each other, not the trees. Spore 95. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/46303
Internet URL: http://spore.cta.int/images/stories/pdf/old/spore95.pdf
'Our country is losing 1% of its dry forest areas each year, at a rate of 100,000 hectares' declared the Minister for Higher Education and Scientific Research of Benin at the opening of the international workshop on 'Integrated management of natural...
Our country is losing 1% of its dry forest areas each year, at a rate of 100,000 hectares' declared the Minister for Higher Education and Scientific Research of Benin at the opening of the international workshop on 'Integrated management of natural forest in the dry tropical zones of West Africa' held in Parakou, Benin, from 25 to 29 June 2001. With such rates of loss not uncommon in West Africa, and with shrinking statal resources available to mitigate the problem, the paths of rural communities and forestry specialists are literally crossing each other literally ever more frequently. Population pressures, the trend towards non-timber forest products such as fruit, honey and essential oils, rising charcoal production and firewood and game meat consumption all lie behind the growing incursions into the forest. These in turn heighten the risks of bushfires and erosion. The standard cries at such meetings tend to focus on empowering local communities. This workshop, though, went further. A critical part of the programme was field work, with memorably animated debates raising the question head-on: how can researchers participate? Among the steps demanded, and later adopted as recommendations: improved storage techniques for seeds containing perishable essential oils; shortening the growth period of such plants; development of more appropriate hand tools; open exchange of such research on a regional basis; optimal scheduling of controlled fires; and optimal zoning of watering points for livestock. The productive output reflects the workshop s inputs: 81 participants from 8 West African countries, South Africa, Benelux and France; 66 papers presented; 400 questions debated. Support came from the people and authorities of Borgou and Alibori, the national university of Benin, the donor agencies of France, Germany and Sweden, and CTA [caption to illustration] Selling forests by the bag full