DRY FOREST - Center for International Forestry Research

Achieving the Millennium Development Goals in African Dry Forests: from local action to national forest policy reforms

Download the flyer
(PDF, 557 KB)


The dry forests of Africa are home to almost 235 million rural people and the forests cover over 43% of the land surface. Forest-based economic activities, such as making charcoal and selling forest products often contribute to over 25% of rural household income and reduce the impacts of droughts and lean times. The fact that so many people depend on the dry forests make them unique and important. Non-timber forest products can offer options for improving people’s livelihoods while at the same time conserving the forest resources. Sustainable management of the dry forests can thus contribute to meeting the UN Millennium Developmental Goals regarding poverty alleviation and protection of the environment. This makes dry forests a key resource in the convergence of interest between development and conservation objectives.

New developments in Africa such as NEPAD are creating new and better opportunities for poor rural people to engage in and benefit from forest based enterprises and markets. The increasing rates of urbanization are creating markets for traditional forest products. Global demand for forest products such as organic honey and Body-Shop type natural products are increasing (estimated at over US$11 billion). Fair trade systems are some of the positive trends that can stimulate forest enterprises and benefit rural producers.

It is against this background that the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), in partnership with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), is working together in developing forest-based enterprises in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia and Zambia. The overall objective of the initiative, for a three year period (2006-2009), is to improve incomes for the rural poor through strengthening policy, institutional, technical and economic incentives for sustainable forest management.