SAHEL VERT: A PROJECT OF CENTRE MAMPUYA, SENEGAL
Satellite images have revealed that the areas covered by forest in zones of the Sahel near the coast of Senegal have been significantly reduced over the past 50 years. The open forest form of vegetation has practically disappeared. Much of the land in Senegal is unregulated and subject to free collective use. Today the traditional ownership structures that may have made sense in the past have led to overexploitation of land resources and a decline in biodiversity. Uncontrolled land development and the emerging pressure of urbanization from the capital along the coast require that a feasible regional landscape concept (i.e., Sahel Vert) be elaborated in order to protect the remaining resources. Centre Mampuya was founded in 2002 on the Sénou hills close to Toubab Dialaw, a former fishing village 50 km to the east of Dakar. From the beginning it has focused on the reforestation and soil regeneration of 50 ha through the extensive use of large-scale commons so as to ensure the biodiversity of plants and animals in the entire region. The hill formations of Sénou protected by Centre Mampuya represent a botanical refugium, a kind of living repository of genetic material for both endangered and well established and flourishing tree species. The Centre has become a model for committed people (most of whom are women) in the region and in the entire country. Since this is a project taking place in the peri-urban area of Dakar, in Toubab Dialaw, it is important to mention the situation around the Centre, which is surrounded by uncontrolled urbanization (i.e., a chaotic layout of half-developed plots going down to the sea). This unregulated urban development is the result of speculation on the part of many local and foreign investors and local field owners (farmers) following the construction of the new airport, located 8 km away; it is also partially explained by the proximity of the sea (Petite Cote). Centre Mampuya has become a model for revitalization, agro-forestry, production and preservation of seeds in specific seed-banks and the production of scions and cuttings of endangered wild plants in a tree-nursery. Working together with farmers, the Centre is developing strategies of self-reliant sustainability (www.sahel-vert.org).
Bassoum, S. and Ghiggi, D. (2014). SAHEL VERT: A PROJECT OF CENTRE MAMPUYA, SENEGAL. Acta Hortic. 1021, 367-372
peri-urban, management of natural resources, rural exodus, agro-forestry, tree-nursery, seed-bank