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Despite efforts to establish protected areas and improve the planning and management of these areas, Benin’s forests are being degraded through slash-and-burn agriculture, demand for wood-based fuel, uncontrolled bush fires, and intensive animal grazing continues. Such activities undermine the essential ecological services that forests provide to populations. In a country where the forest sector contributes over six percent to GDP (2009 estimate) and employs more than 200,000 people in the wood-energy sector alone, the direct and indirect impacts of forest degradation are significant.
To address these trends, the Beninese Government has prioritized the conservation and sustainable management of its forest resources. The World Bank is providing support by financing a background study on the state of forestry and biodiversity in Benin. To complement this IDA study, PROFOR is supporting a supplemental analysis into to the potential for productive forests in Benin, which will also recommend targeted investments for developing the sector in a sustainable manner and contributing to job creation.
This activity will undertake an assessment of the productive forest sector in Benin, and opportunities for long-term investments in the areas of timber and fuel wood. The study will review the main stakeholders, including the timber industries; assess national timber production needs and capacity; and identify the relevant obstacles to developing the sector. Concrete recommendations will be made with a view toward reducing the country's dependence on imports to meet its domestic demand for timber and firewood.
This activity concluded in December 2018. The activities of this ASA integrated and reinforced several processes initiated by the Government of Benin: increasing knowledge of forest sector stakeholders, strengthening national information management systems, making a concrete contribution to the planning of the Government Action Program for 2016-2021, and defining interventions that could be carried out with the support of the World Bank.
The analysis recommended that the development strategy for timber should be based on the establishment of plantations, preferably in areas favourable to the growth of teak and Gmelina (southern and central areas) and in certain climatic enclaves. The management plans of these zones dedicate on average 40% of the forests surface to wood production, half of which can be devoted to timber plantations. The development of timber plantations will contribute to achieving the Government's goal of increasing the volume of timber annually to 250,000 m3 through large-scale plantations to generate forest-related jobs and increase public revenues.
The activity helped to influence the way in which Benin’s DGEFC plans to secure its Gazetted Forests, including ways in which to promote forest resources as a valuable source of income for adjacent communities and their members, especially women and youth, to ensure sustainable development and exploitation. Benin is in the process of using this study’s findings to help shape a project that will lend support to productive forests, specifically for fuelwood, to supply its energy needs.
Last Updated : 05-04-2019