West Africa adopts regional approach to manage forest ecosystems

A villager makes his way through a dry forest in Burkina Faso, West Africa. More than 870,000 ha of forests were lost in a region of West Africa each year between 2000 and 2010, according to FAO. Daniel Tiveau/CIFOR

A villager makes his way through a dry forest in Burkina Faso, West Africa. More than 870,000 ha of forests were lost in a region of West Africa each year between 2000 and 2010, according to FAO. Daniel Tiveau/CIFOR

In response to the dramatic decline of forest cover in West Africa, 15 member countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have agreed to work together across borders to protect and manage the region’s forests and wildlife.

“States need common policies on how to manage their resources. Many forest-related issues, such as livestock or wildlife crossing national borders at different seasons, cannot be managed by one country on its own,” said Michael Balinga, regional scientist for the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) in West Africa, who took part in the meetings.

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