Most of the forests in the country are in a highly degraded state.In fact, deforestation is a major environmental concern in Chad. Woodlands, mainly located in south, have diminished by 29% between 1975 and 2013, amounting to a very significant loss of 4700 sq. km. The area of gallery forest also declined, but not as rapidly as woodlands. In the Sahel region of Bahr El Gazal and Kanen, sandy areas have grown in a patchwork fashion, pushing into the steppes [1].

Between 1990 and 2010, Chad lost 12.1% of its forest cover, or around 1.585 Mha. Annual average deforestation rate has increased slightly from 0.6% in 1990-2000 to 0.65 in 2005-2010. From 2001 to 2020, Chad has lost 49.9 kha of tree cover, equivalent to a 12% decrease in tree cover since 2000, and 14.0Mt of COe emissions.  Area of forest affected by fire in 2005 was estimated to be 5794,000 ha, all being wildfire (not managed burn). The industrial roundwood removals increased from 404,000 m3 in 1990 to 435,000 m3 in 2005, 67% of which came from forests. Removals for wood-fuels has increased steadily (8084,000 m3 in 1990 to 8698,000 m3 in 2005) [2].


Traditional herding practices and the need for firewood and wood for construction have exacerbated the problem [3]. To what extent the decline in forest coverage has been caused by climatic changes and to what extent by herding and cutting practices is unknown. Regulating dangerous practicesn was difficult because some people traditionally made their living selling wood and charcoal for fuel, and wood for construction in the urban centers.

Driven by an accelerated population growth and concomitant food demand, agricultural expansion is the main driver of loss of Chad’s natural landscapes. Droughts in the 1970s and 1980s, as well as grazing pressure, have destabilized the already sparse vegetation cover, allowing the underlying sands to become more mobile. Between 1975 and 2013, sandy areas have increased by 22% [2].


Key policies and governance approach

National forest policy and legal framework was enacted in year 2000 and 2008 respectively. National forest program started in 1972 is in implementation that includes reforestation and afforestation actions to improve the sequestration of carbon by 2030. Protective actions to prevent deforestation (877,000 ha) and restoration are also planned (50,000 ha) in the action plan for 2030. Other major activities include the promotion of good agroforestry practices within the framework of the Great Green Wall for the Sahel and the Sahara, the strengthening of resilience in arid zones in Africa (FAO). 

The Country Programming Framework (CPP) between the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Government of Chad, involving a broad multisectoral consultative process including national institutions, civil society organizations and development partners, within the framework of the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) covering the same period 2017-2021, establishes three areas of development for Chad in terms of food and sustainable agro-sylvo-pastoral and fisheries production. The CPP is FAO's contribution to the implementation of these national development frameworks. One of the priority area is the “Development and sustainable management of natural resources”.


Successes and remaining challenges 

Although the government attempted to limit wood brought into the capital, the attempts have not been well managed, and unrestricted cutting of woodlands remained a problem. Recent interviews conducted among local farmers and local stakeholders by the Centre National d’Appui à la Recherche (CNAR – National Center for Research) indicate that cropland expansion is not only related to the growing population and the associated need to produce more food, but also to land deterioration. Poor land management and recurrent wildfires led to soil deterioration and reduced agricultural yield. As a result, farmers have been searching for new, fertile land, such as the surroundings of Manda National Park and Djoli-Kéra Forest Reserve. In addition, farmers have been shifting to more lucrative activities, such as timber commercialization or charcoal production [4].


Initiatives and Development Plans

Chad is ready to fight against climate change and adapt to its impacts by making efforts to protect the environment, in particular through activities such asimplementing the national programme for the development of green belts around Chadian cities. In addition to these green belts, ten million trees are being planted as part of the African Great Green Wall initiative, and National Tree Week has been officially launched. An ambitious plan to distribute 3,000,000 improved wood-burning stoves and 1,500,000 charcoal, and the efficient production of 300,000 tonnes of charcoal to improve the production efficiency and therefore reduce wood consumption and emissions of CH4 forms parts of the initiatives [5].


Goals and Ambitions

Chad has pledged to restore 5 million hectares by 2030 as part of the Bonn Challenge Southern Africa (SADC+) Bonn Challenge Ministerial Roundtable, organised by the Malawi Department of Forestry and IUCN.

Chad’s pledge to the Bonn Challenge and AFR100 brings together several domestic programmes focused on restoration, including the Neutral Land Degradation Project, Great Green Wall Programme, Lake Chad Ecosystem Rehabilitation and Restoration Project and the Provincial Landscape Restoration Initiative.

Other priority options identified include actions that will promote and support the use of renewable energies, such as biogas and solar energy, which will help reduce the dependence of communities on firewood. This will help reduce deforestation and the degradation of land cover, and will have positive repercussions on the economy, health public, health and environment [6].