Country study Burkina Faso 


National monographs aim at collecting and analysing biological, economic and social data which will enable to determine the framework for the development of national strategies and plans of actions (PNUE, 1993).

Since the term "biological diversity" is relatively new, this report underlines the essential characteristics of biological diversity for sustainable development.

This document about the situation in Burkina Faso, in terms of biological diversity, reveals that praiseworthy actions have already been undertaken in the past but there is still a lot to do.

A total of nineteen (19) thematic studies dealt with the various issues related to the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity. These studies are concerned with the overall information and results, which are presented in this report.

Burkina Faso is a landlocked Sudanese-Sahelian country, with a surface area of 274 200 Km˛, located in the heart of West Africa. Its population is about 9 190 000 inhabitants (INSD, 1991), with an annual population growth of 2.63%.

The present situation of the country's biological diversity is characterised by the destructive pressure of man and animals which mainly results in bush fires, shifting cultivation, population pressure, overgrazing and excessive use of biological resources. In addition to these man-caused factors there is the effect of successive droughts which have been occurring since 1970. The conjunction of these two main factors lead to the accelerated deterioration of biological diversity.

In order to deal with this trend, the country has undertaken or is still undertaking actions in order to ensure the sustainable use of biological resources.

The results of the taxonomic inventories made in this national survey on biological diversity are as follows:

1. Species

Table (i) below shows the situation of the inventory of species according biological diversity elements.

Table (i): Situation of surveyed species

Insects  1515
Reptiles  60
Birds  482
Mammals  139
Fishes  118
Amphibians  30
Shellfish  6
Molluscs  28
Zooplankton  16
Sub-total  2 394
Algae  191
Higher fungi  28
Herbaceous plants  812
Ligneous plants  376
Sub-total  1 407
TOTAL  3 801

2. Ecosystems:

In Burkina Faso there are three main types of ecosystems:

  • Terrestrial ecosystems: 25 140 000 ha, or 91.22% of the country;
  • Aquatic ecosystems: 72 500 ha, or 0.26% of the country;
  • Intermediate ecosystems: 371 000 ha, or 1.34% of the country.

The rest of the country includes other types of environment, particularly dunes, towns, rocks and roads.

3. Biological resources

The richest habitats of species (in terms of quantity and quality) amount to the various conservation areas of terrestrial fauna (national parks, synergetic areas, biosphere reserves), forest reserves, natural and artificial wetlands (ponds, lakes of dams, developed areas).

The overall data from the thematic studies conducted in response to the needs of this report show the following contributions of biological diversity to the national economy in 1996.

  • wood: 177 394 million m3;
  • big fauna: 35 species whose inventory has not been exhaustive;
  • fisheries: 12 500 tons per year of which only 7 000 tons are utilised;
  • forest and fruit seedlings produced in nurseries: 12 million of which only four million are planted;
  • cereals: 2 963 300 tons including 129 700 tons of rice;
  • peanut: 194 400 tons;
  • tubers: 41 170 tons;
  • fibre plants: 177 600 tons of cotton;
  • livestock (bovine, ovine, caprine, pigs, asine, equine, camelidae): 18 million heads (animal breeding accounts for the equivalent of 12% of GDP and 16% of exports);
  • rabbits: 67 000 heads;
  • pets (dogs and cats): 900 000 heads;
  • poultry: 22 million heads;
  • non ligneous forest products (e.g. honey, shea kernels, neere seeds).

In addition, there is sight-seeing tourism which contributes to the national economy. In 1993 this contribution was 17 791 548 US dollars.
Some types and/or species of fauna and flora have an important economic value because of the high profitability of the products they provide. They are, for example:

Cotton (fibre, seeds...)
Rice (human feed);
Tomato (human feed);
Cowpeas (human feed);
Sesame (oil, confectionery...);
Corn (human and animal feed);
Peanut (seeds, oil, drying of leaves for hay...);
Shea-tree (kernels, wood...);
Neere ( pulps and seeds used for making soumbala...);
Mango-tree (fruit);
Citrus fruit (fruit);
Cashew (nuts);
Tamarind (tamarind);
Soya (Soya milk, beans for making soumbala, Soya oil, cakes for animal feed...);
Red sorghum (sorghum beer, human feed);
Millet and white sorghum (human feed);
Sorrel (drink, seeds, fibres, sauce);
Medicinal plants;
Exotic vegetable plants;
Gum-bearing plants;
Edible higher fungi;
Livestock (proteins, foreign currency);
Wild animals (proteins);
Elephant (ivory);
Fishes (proteins);
Shea caterpillar (human feed).

Let us note that data figures have not been established yet for some products taken from biological diversity. This is the case, for example, of pharmacological products and a lot of non-ligneous forest products (e.g.: Most fruits picked up from spontaneous species, straw used for thatching roofs, etc.).

4. Endemism

In Burkina Faso the situation of endemism at the level of flora and fauna is not well known; Nevertheless, it was found that 23 vegetable species surveyed in Burkina Faso are endemic in West Africa.

5. Threats

As far as threats on species are concerned, few inventories have been made because of the relatively new situation of the attention paid to the various constituent components of the country's overall biological diversity.

However, it was found that losses in biological diversity are mainly due to the following threats and trends:

  • bush fires and biotope destruction;
  • population pressure leading to the decrease of fallow;
  • Shifting cultivation and destruction of species and ecosystems;
  • poverty and recourse to the satisfaction of immediate needs;
  • climatic pejoration.

6. Endangered species

The number of endangered species is low, but this certainly does not correspond to reality, since research work on their identification is recent and very little. Endangered species have been numbered according to the following categories:

  • mammals: 8;
  • birds: 3;
  • reptiles: 2;
  • fishes: 1;
  • trees: 15.

7. Measures in favour of the conservation of biological diversity

The measures, in force, aiming at reversing the trend hinge on regulation, Programming, planning and implementation of developmental action. The main items of these measures are:

  • Structural Adjustment Programme and its sectorial components;
  • National Plan of Action for the Environment (PANE);
  • Strategic plan for scientific and technological research;
  • Agrarian and Land Reform (RAF);
  • Environmental Code;
  • Forest Code;
  • Water Code
  • Mining Code;
  • Integrated Rural Development Programme.

8. Spending on conservation of biological diversity

According to official data, the implementation of the overall measures by governmental structures during these five years (1992-1996) cost 230 579 million CFA francs (as far as annual budgets and projects within the framework of the Public Investment Programme) divided as follows: 11 433 million CFA F financed with the State's own resources, 11 181 million CFA F born by self-financing of activities and 205 966 million CFA F from external support (loans and subsidies). Besides these expenses, there is a substantial NGO financial support to the management of renewable natural resources.

The financial need of the Burkinabč State to complement its own efforts amounts to 27 056 million CFA F for all actions within the framework of PANE (1994).

9. Options of conservation of biological conservation

With regard to the present situation of biological diversity, the following general options have been put forward:

  • inform and sensitise more decision-makers and actors about the need to safeguard biological diversity;
  • make the whole population accountable for a good conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity;
  • deepen knowledge, including local know-how about biological diversity;
  • strengthen national capacities in sustainable management of biological diversity, particularly in the domain of training and appropriate infrastructures.

These options are part of State policy, which is based on decentralisation, and devolution of power from the State to decentralised territorial communities, particularly in the area of "Land Management". Among the specific options which have been approved, the following may be listed:

  • increasing the participation of the population in combating desertification;
  • settling young people in their communities through the generation of employment in these environments;
  • full participation of populations in decision making from bottom up (decentralisation process);
  • strengthening family education;
  • strengthening environmental education;
  • intensification of agricultural productions;
  • development of knowledge on the constituent components of biological diversity.

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