To avoid living the pangs of forest fires, the residents of Ando-Kpomey have grown
To avoid living the pangs of forest fires, the residents of Ando-Kpomey have grown a plant firewall around their village. Since then, the "green belt" has turned into a real forest that everyone can benefit from!
This is the story of Togolese villagers who decided to take charge of their own lives when a fire has eaten up their village in 1975. Facing the enormity of the damage, the dwellers of Ando-Kpomey agreed to create a green belt around their village. In the beginning, the project has no ambition other than create a natural firebreak to protect their homes. But after years of collective and united work, the results exceeded their expectations.
A green belt turned into a forest
The green bent initiative was launched solely through the villagers’ own means and efforts. The families had first mobilized and organized themselves to create the firewall, which is meant to take form of a 14-meter scrubland around the city. Beyond the firewall, they planted a 10 meter stretch of trees. Gradually, the green belt turned into a community forest which depth is 350 to 850 m around the small city.
Thanks to the forest, there are new resources to be exploited
With the appearance of the forest, the villagers continue in their efforts which no longer aim to create a green belt but which are now part of a genuine approach to widen the forest area they have created. To this end, the inhabitants of Ando-Kpomey set up village nurseries in which shrubs are cultivated before being planted as part of the “annual forest expansion process”. The village development committee of Ando-Kpomey, the official structure that coordinates the project, has established a management plan focusing on three micro-zoning areas: a 25 ha conservation area, a 44 ha forest area and an agroforestry zone of 33 Ha.
A more engaged and better qualified population
The village’s populations were trained in terms of soil conservation techniques, control of erosion and conservation of soil fertility. Training sessions were given regarding the techniques of sustainable management of forests and soils. Thanks to its success, the community forest concept of Ando-Kpomey was adopted by five other communities of the region.
Who would have believed that a forest fire would result in such a dynamic? Every cloud has a silver lining!
Koto Koku AgbeeExecutive Secretary
Comité villageois de développement de Ando-Kpomey
The forest has always been a source of heat, food and medicinal products and provides wood for construction and other purposes. On the other hand, its role in supporting agricultural activities, preserving biodiversity, protecting water sources and reducing the impact of climate change is less known.
The United Nations estimated that by 2000, some 1.6 billion people in the world, including many in the poorest regions, will derive at least part of their food, income and medical needs directly from the forest. Of these, about 70 million indigenous people depend almost entirely on the forest for subsistence.
Thus, in order to protect the Moroccan forest and preserve the diversity of its ecosystem, the High Commission for Water and Forests and the fight against Desertification has put in place an integrated strategy based on three pillars: Land tenure security and protection of forests, rehabilitation of forest ecosystems and upgrading of the sector’s environment.
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