In 2013, 5 469 600 hectares, comprising about 20% of Burkina Faso’s surface area, were classified as forest area (World Bank 2014/2015; Mongabay 2010).

Environmental reports show that the country is experiencing a regression of its forest areas of 105 000 ha per year. Deforestation, which is accompanied by the loss of biodiversity (both flora and fauna) and the degradation of the productive capacity of soils, also implies a decrease in carbon sequestration by vegetation and soils. This consequently results in a decrease in the potential of surface water and a degradation in the banks and gallery forests Forests are indeed disappearing at a rate of 1 % to 1.5% percent per year [1].


Drivers of deforestation include agricultural expansion, overgrazing, bush fires, increasing demand for fuel-wood and abusive wood cutting. Exacerbated with low annual reforestation, one third of the territory of Burkina Faso, or more than 9 million hectares of productive land is degraded [1].


Key policies and governance approach

The State Forestry Services (known as the, General Direction of Water and Forests or DGEF), a unit within the Ministry of the Environment, Green Economy and Climate Change (MEEVCC10), is responsible for preservation of forest resources included in the national patrimony. MEEVCC is also responsible for coordinating the different national and local public agencies and private actors engaged in sustainable development. Local governments are responsible for translating the national sustainable development objectives into local objectives and operational tools such as local development plans (GOBF 2013).


Successes and remaining challenges

Burkina Faso has demonstrated significant commitment to various international treaties and conventions. Indeed, the country has ratified several international and regional agreements that reaffirm: (i) their awareness of the important cultural, regulating, and provisioning as well as supporting functions that the forest ecosystem plays in the lives of many people; and (ii) that these resources are under significant pressure. On a local level, Burkina Faso has actively implemented the international treaties in ways that are appropriate to the national context. The nation’s commitment to forest governance is demonstrated through national action plans and strategies, as well as press releases from cabinet meetings [2]


Initiatives and Development Plans

With support from the World Bank and the African Development Bank, Burkina Faso launched its strategy for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) in 2010 and the Readiness Preparation Plan for REDD+ was completed in 2012.

Burkina Faso had also developed a 10- year investment plan for the environment, forestry, and climate adaptation and mitigation that was approved by a sub-committee of FIP in 2011. FIP's vision for Burkina Faso is to strengthen the country REDD+ readiness, define and implement transformational and innovative activities to achieve the 'triple win' adaptation to climate change, increase of carbon sequestration and poverty reduction,  implement a coordinated set of policies, incentives, regulatory frameworks and institutional arrangements that reduce deforestation, forest degradation, and scale-up sustainable forest management practices, parklands and agro-forestry, as well as help creating a positive impact in terms of poverty alleviation particularly taking into account gender issues mainly women and vulnerable populations [3]

The investment plan will be implemented through two projects: the Decentralized Management of Forests and Wooded Areas Project (PGDFEB) financed through the World Bank, and the Participatory Management of Classified Forests Project (PGPFC) financed through AfDB [4]. The projects, scheduled for implementation during the period 2014-2018, promote an adaptation-based mitigation path that would both reduce poverty and limit deforestation and the degradation of forests and woodlands, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions. A third project, the Project to Support Forest-Dependent Populations (PAPF) was being prepared in 2015. PAPF seeks to reinforce participation of local populations in REDD+ activities.


Goals and Ambitions

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Burkina Faso will create green jobs for an economic recovery through its commitment to restore 5.16 million hectares of degraded land by 2030 under its Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) program [1].

  • Forest authorities lack human, material, and financial resources to effectively implement forest policy and legislation, both the national and local levels.
  • Private investment in forestry has not yet materialized on a large scale, in spite of favorable legislative provisions. As of 2015, there were no natural private forests in Burkina Faso.
  • Arbitrary enforcement of restrictions of the use of forest resources has both strained relationships between local populations and the forest service and weakened customary forest management and tenure systems.
  • Lack of forest and land tenure security has been cited as a contributing factor to deforestation and forest degradation, and the public-private/local- national networks of cooperation foreseen in current forest policy and legislation may be challenging to achieve.