Chad is home to a rich and very diverse fauna and flora. According to various available sources of information, it is estimated that there are about 4318 species of higher plants (wild and domestic) including 71 endemic species (including Ficus carica, Ficus salicifolia, Rauwolfia sp, Adina microcephala, Clematis tibestica novsp, Celsia tibestica novsp, Artemisia tilhona novps, endemic to Tibesti) and 11 threatened species (including Anogeissus leiocarpus, Pteropcarpus enrinaceus, Vitex doniana, Detarium microcarpum, Prosopis africana). It is important to underline that this list is far from exhaustive, as there has never been a complete inventory throughout the territory. Nevertheless, the Farcha Veterinary and Zootechnical Research Laboratory (LVRZ) has an herbarium of 8000 specimens and a reference herbarium with more than 2500 specimens at the level of the Ecological Monitoring and Conservation Project of the Zakouma National Park, recognized as a national site of great unique richness in French-speaking Africa. The flora of the Park has more than 700 plant species [1].

The faunal diversity of Chad includes 722 species of animals (wild and domestic) not counting the group of insects which seems richer in specific diversity. The best known fauna is composed of mammals, birds, reptiles and fish. There are currently 131 species of large mammals, 532 species of birds including 354 residents, 117 Palearctic migrants, and 260 Afro-tropical migrants, and 136 species of fish. Of these species, 15 mammals, 4 birds and Nile crocodiles and monitor lizards are fully protected. In addition to these species, Chad is full of other animal species less known, which represent a great resource for the country, such asf molluscs, cretaceous, arachnids and turtles [1]. Apart from the species living in parks and wildlife reserve, it is difficult to know how many wild animal species evolve in the different ecosystems as well as their numerical importance due to the lack of a complete inventory in the entire territory [1].

Natural pastures are ecosystems which are really rich in biodiversity. In Chad those represent the country's main pastoral resource. Together with the rangeland, they cover 84 million hectares (or 37% of the country's total area) while the rest of the territory consists of agricultural land (18 million hectares, or 14% of the total area), forest (10.5 million hectares, or 8% of the total area), and desert area (41% of the territory). The accurate assessment of areas exploitable by livestock is very difficult, but four main types of pasture can nevertheless be distinguished according to climatic zones [1].

Furthermore, despite the worrying deterioration of natural and water resources in particular, Chad has considerable potential for fisheries resources. The fishing areas consist mainly of Lake Chad, the Logone and Chari rivers, the lower lakes and the flooded plains. The fishing potential is highly dependent on rainfall; it varies from 144,000 tons to 280,000 tons in periods of good rainfall. The contribution of fisheries to GDP is about 10% [1].

Chad is also of great ornithological interest. The abundance of wetlands in the country allows  the presence of large populations of Afrotropical and Palearctic birds with species such as the Crowned Crane, the Fighting Knights (Philomacus pugnax), the pilets (Anas acuta), the Teal (Anas querquedula). Species such as ostriches (Struthio camelus camelus), bustards (Otis arabs) and falcons (Falcon peregrinus) are also found in the country’s territory. For reptile species, the Nile crocodiles (Crocodilus niloticus), the Nile Monitor lizards (Varanus niloticus), and the Seba Python can be found in Chad [1].

Three species of turtles on the IUCN Red List are believed to be present in Chad’s territory: the furrowed turtle (Geochelone sulcata), the Senegalese Trionyx (Cyclanerbis senegalensis) and Nubia (Cyclanerbis elegans) [1].

One of the main problems encountered in the country is soil degradation. Its main effect is a significant reduction in fodder and water resources. This reduction in turn causes two sets of effects: first, the birth of a competition for access to water and pasture; secondly, an increase in the length and duration of transhumance to the agricultural lands of the south, with increased risks of conflict, and finally the more or less definitive emigration of entire groups of herders to these new host lands. The extension of cultivated areas also contributes to exacerbating competition for the occupation of space: former herders' camps are coveted for their richness in organic manure, and transhumance tracks can be blocked by agricultural activities. In this context of scarcity of available land, pasture management therefore becomes inseparable from the development of rural areas and the management of terroirs [1].

Chad's protected areas are also under severe pressure. The PAs subject to the most important pressures are the Wildlife Reserves of Mandelia, Barh Salamat and Ouadi Rimé-Oudi-Achim but this must be put into perspective in a general context of strong pressure on the parks [1].

Another major challenge is the unsustainable use of woody species and wasting of pastoral spaces, which have critically endangered the tree steppe ecosystem of the country. In the Sahara Desert, the loss of woody species affects dune stabilization, hence promoting wind and sand erosion of cultivable lands [2].


Biodiversity loss in Chad has been greatly affected by recurring droughts, by desertification, soil degradation and pollution from the mining industry. The main drivers for such phenomena can be identified as overexploitation and the unsustainable use of biological resources, connected to the extreme poverty and demographic pressures in the area (waves of refugees, growing population), and the effects of a poor managed pastoral system, together with deforestation, land clearing and bushfires for intensive agriculture. Other major causes of biodiversity loss are the intensive farming and conversion of lands to croplands, at alarming rate, together with unsustainable fishing practices using prohibited tools such as gear and toxic chemicals [2].

Pollution from the mining industry and petroleum extraction plays a role as well in threatening freshwater and wildlife of the country while soil degradation is mainly caused through trampling and overgrazing, clearing, as well as bushfires. It should be noted that overgrazing in the rainy season, which damages the plants, is more harmful than that in the dry season with the current gradual desertification is attributed to climate change and population growth [1].

Lack of financial investment, specialists, equipment and infrastructure to conduct appropriate research on species and genetic resources, as well as comprehensive inventorying of plant and animal species for monitoring purposes is another major problem as well as weak environmental governance [2].


Key policies and governance approach

During the years, Chad has committed to various policies, strategies and plan to mainstream biodiversity conservation and use. The NBSAP’s coordination  is ensured by the country’s National High Committee on the Environment. The latest NBSAP has five strategic objectives: (i)improve biodiversity knowledge and surveillance; (ii)conduct inventories, conserve and/or restore ecosystems and threatened species; (iii)increase the use of alternative resources; (iv)adopt sustainable harvesting practices and (v) develop benefit-sharing mechanisms in management practices [2].

In its Environmental Protection Policy, the Government of Chad has undertaken actions to promote the responsible and participatory implementation of the various international Conventions ratified by the country, including the one relating to Biological Diversity [1].

Moreover, Law 14 on General Principles for Environmental Protection of the 17 August 1998, establishes the principle of environmental and social assessment of all aspects including ESD+ initiatives. Moreover, as part of the REDD+ process, national environmental standards are developed to guide the implementation and monitoring of REDD+ initiatives. Standards enshrine safeguard measures to which REDD+ initiatives will have to be submitted and define the process of validation of measures and guarantee compliance with national legislation, partner safeguarding policies technical and financial involved as well as ratified international treaties and agreements by the Republic of Chad [3],


Successes and remaining challenges

In general, important work remains to be done to have a clear picture of the species habiting the country. The identification of plant and animal species, particularly amphibians, crustaceans, insects, reptiles, fish and birds, would fill the gaps in informational lack regarding animal biological diversity in Chad, providing additional information both for the country and for Africa in general [1].

The country’s NBSAP is well developed but the implementation has not been effective due to a lack of funding which has created obstacles in regard to stakeholder participation. The action plan was to be implemented within 10 years, with the possibility of revision. One of the main problems related to the implementation of the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan is the absence of mechanisms and tools to integrate biodiversity in all the sectors as well as a difficulty in monitoring biodiversity’s status [3].  Obstacles to the development and implementation of safeguard measures of the biodiversity can be summarized in (i) institutional weakness, (ii) reduced national expertise [3].

Chad is prioritizing biodiversity through certain national policies, however it is felt that other sectors such as the mining sector and livestock sector continue to fail at addressing issues in their policies and strategies due to these technical deficiencies. In fact, even if technical reports are showing the importance of biodiversity and its degradation status, these sectors are not integrating biodiversity in their strategies [2].


Initiatives and Development Plans

Chad main strategies and plans on biodiversity has been various, from the National Poverty Reduction Strategy (2002), the Rural Development Intervention Plan (2003) and the National Program for Food Security (2005),to the Master Plan for Agriculture (2003) and the Master Plan for Fisheries and Aquaculture (2003), as well as the National Policy for Traditional Medicine (2001) [2]. For examples, the Fisheries Master Plan defines the strategic axes of the subsector with the overall biodiversity protection goal. The Plan made possible to take stock of the situation and define priority projects for the development of fisheries and fish farming. For instance, in the Lake Chad basin is present the spirulina (Spirulina platensis), a blue algae of great virtue sought around the world, of which Chad is one of the few countries to produce naturally [2].

Despite the efforts, many impacting sectors in the country, such as the mining and the livestock sectors, are stronger and are not taking actions to consider biodiversity in their future work.

A worth to mention project is the “Conservation and good governance of natural resources of the Zakouma National Park (PNZ) and its ecosystems for the benefit of local development”, funded by the European Development Fund (EDF) and aiming at managing the Zakouma National Park in Chad, one of the largest intact Sudano-Sahelian ecosystems in Africa. It run from 2011 to 2016 with implementing organization being the Stichting African Parks Foundation, which objectives were to (i) strengthen the conservation of ecosystems and endangered species and/or of marked importance, (ii) promote the sustainable use of biological resources of known or potential value, and (iii) ensure a fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the exploitation of biological resources (especially genetic) [4].


Goals and Ambitions

Although large conservation projects have been implemented, results remain insufficient for the country’s challenges in biodiversity matters. Particular efforts toward communication, information, training and awareness are required, as well as the need to mainstream the efforts planned in the NBSAP in socio-economic policies and strategies, and legal acts to regulate the sustainable use of biodiversity [2].


Although the Chad’s NBSAP is developed, implementation has not been effective due mainly to a lack of funding, absence of a mechanism and tools to integrate biodiversity in other sectors policies, and monitor biodiversity, and even if the 2010 goal to attain 11% protected areas coverage has been reached and large conservation projects have been implemented, results remain insufficient.

The following actions are recommended:

  • Integrate local knowledge into biodiversity conservation policies and plans and also integrate biodiversity conservation in other sectors’ policies impacting biodiversity such as agriculture, forest, water resources, mining, industry, environmental protection etc.
  • Diversify the economy beyond agriculture and dependence on the exploitation of natural resources
  • Strengthen the capacities of institutions for the planning and implementation of biodiversity and ecosystem management.
  • improve biodiversity knowledge and surveillance; conduct inventories, conserve and/or restore ecosystems and threatened species.
  • adopt sustainable harvesting practices.
  • develop benefit-sharing mechanisms in management practices.