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Rural districts and community forest management and the fight against poverty in Niger : The Household Energy Strategy - a forestry policy to supply urban areas with Household energy

Montagne P., Amadou O.. 2012. Field Actions Science Reports (6) : 14 p..

The forestry policy developed in Niger from the early 1930s until 1990 was marked by the preeminent role played by the colonial government, and subsequently by the government of independent Niger. In 1990, following the Maradi Conference in 1984, the importance of bringing local populations in on the process of forest management, after almost 70 years of being excluded, was finally accepted. In 1989, Niger adopted the Household Energy Strategy (HES) as a major axis of its forestry policy, choosing to prioritize the issue of firewood supplies for urban centers through community forest management. This policy, enacted by "decree 92-037" almost 20 years ago now, authorizes the creation of rural wood markets and allows rural communities to levy taxes at source, thus taking real ownership of their resources. After such a long period of exclusion, however, there is still some way to go in implementing this initiative. The hoped-for changes cannot be made to happen just by snapping ones' fingers, and this new power accorded to local populations has met with considerable reserve and much opposition. From 2007 to 2011, the rural district of Torodi introduced a major innovation in the implementation of the HES, improving the forestry control of woodfuel flows by setting up a communal monitoring unit, fully funded by the municipality. The HES is now in a position to consolidate its long-term viability and ultimately to improve the well-being of these populations.

Mots-clés : politique forestière; participation communautaire; aménagement forestier; gestion des ressources; ressource forestière; bois; bioénergie; population rurale; développement durable; pauvreté; bois énergie; niger

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