Taking action for shea parklands

Communities in the savanna ecological area may struggle with land degradation and loss of soil productivity, which impacts livelihoods and increases the threats of climate change with growing vulnerability for these communities as a result.

As part of its Sustainability Program, the Global Shea Alliance is mobilizing industry stakeholders across the globe to preserve shea parklands. The action is built around three pillars: Promote, Plant and Protect. The Promote and Protect aspects address long-term and systemic factors behind the decrease in tree populations, while the Plant aspect showcases immediate change and impact. Shea is the primary focus of the initiative, however industry stakeholders are encouraged to include other indigenous trees in their implementation of the three pillars to ensure diverse and productive parklands. To join the action or learn more, visit the Action for Shea site.

shea seedling plant

In order to do our part in conserving and protecting the shea parklands, BLC partners with Eco Restore, a Ghanaian agri-business start-up, to plant 6,000 trees in 2020 around the Nasia Community in Northern Ghana. This area is predominantly a farming parkland landscape with scattered communities where there used to be a high density of shea trees. The goal is to grow 6,000 native trees within the landscape, in collaboration with local community members. 70% of the trees planted will be shea and the other 30% will be mixed native NTFP (non-timber forest product) and wood-fuel species.

At this moment, 5,500 trees have been planted and from January 2021 through December 2022 there will be ongoing monthly monitoring and maintenance. A series of meetings and trainings have been conducted with community members, including: 1) an initial meeting at the end of January which established willingness to participate and the programs schedule; 2) a risk assessment in late February confirmed the communities needs and appropriate permissions for native tree planting in the landscape; 3) tree planting trainings commenced on June 22nd with small farmer groups; and 4) a fire/livestock protection training during the early dry season (October-December).

The Nasia community welcomes the new initiative to restore their parkland with open arms. The chief of Nasia, Chief Abdulai Mahami Scot, says: In the past, our crop yields were good and forest cover was high due to prudent management of farming systems. Until recent years our community bylaws were effective and supported us to manage the natural resources well. But due to reduced power and influence of our traditional leaders, many communities including the likes of Nasia have folded their hands in dismay amidst the looming crisis. The introduction of the project was therefore welcomed with huge enthusiasm among the key stakeholders when Eco Restore, under the BLC funded project, introduced the idea of restoring their parkland by planting indigenous trees. Tooka Abdulai, a community elder, stated: "We have been waiting for this opportunity for a very long time. We wholeheartedly welcome and accept this initiative and therefore expect full collaboration and cooperation from the chief, elders and all stakeholders of this community.

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