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Deforestation is a pressing issue in many parts of the world, with devastating impacts on ecosystems, communities, and economies. Benin, a small West African country, is no exception to this trend. However, the country is taking steps to combat deforestation through agroforestry, a sustainable land-use system that combines agriculture and forestry.
Agricultural landscape at Grand Popo, Benin.
Agroforestry involves growing trees alongside crops or livestock, creating a more diverse and resilient landscape. By integrating trees into agricultural practices, farmers can improve soil fertility, prevent erosion, and increase crop yields. Trees also provide essential ecosystem services, such as carbon sequestration, water regulation, and biodiversity conservation.
In Benin, agroforestry has become an increasingly popular approach to combating deforestation and promoting sustainable agriculture. As a result, the government implemented policies and programmes to support agroforestry initiatives. Local communities are also adopting these practices.
Read more: What is sustainable land management?
One notable example is the Association for the Promotion of Rural Development (APRD), a non-governmental organisation that works with farmers to establish agroforestry systems. The APRD provides training, technical support, and financial assistance to help farmers adopt agroforestry practices. The organisation helped establish over 200 hectares of agroforestry systems in Benin, benefiting over 400 farmers.
Another example is the Benin Social and Environmental Fund (BSEF), a public-private partnership that supports community-led projects in biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. BSEF has funded several agroforestry initiatives, such as the Fruit Trees for Carbon Sequestration project, which aims to plant fruit trees in degraded landscapes to sequester carbon and provide additional income for farmers.
Despite these efforts, deforestation remains a challenge in Benin. The country has lost over 37% of its forest cover since 1990, largely due to the expansion of agriculture and unsustainable logging practices. Furthermore, the adoption of agroforestry practices is not yet widespread, and many farmers still rely on traditional slash-and-burn agriculture, which contributes to deforestation.
Read more: Top 10 causes of deforestation
To address these challenges, more support and investment are needed to promote agroforestry and other sustainable land-use systems in Benin. This includes policy reforms, technical assistance, and financial incentives to encourage farmers to adopt these practices. Additionally, raising awareness among farmers and the wider public about the benefits of agroforestry and the negative impacts of deforestation is crucial.
In conclusion, Benin's agroforestry efforts are a promising approach to combat deforestation and promote sustainable agriculture.
With continued support and investment, these initiatives can contribute to the country's economic development, ecosystem health, and climate resilience. This is what DGB Group aims to do, promote sustainable practices and reforest the world at scale. DGB works with various stakeholders, such as governments and communities, to develop large-scale impactful nature-based projects that restore nature and capture large amounts of carbon. These projects help the regeneration of biodiversity and the restoration of vital habitats.
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