Towards better woodland management in the Sahelian Mali

Towards better woodland management in the Sahelian Mali

Woodland management policy in Mali could encourage privatisation of common property

This article begins with an investigation into woodland management in Mali and moves onto a discussion of some of the fundamental practical problems associated with a major part of forest policy in Mali. The article focuses on how to increase villagers' control and management of their resources.

The article finds that:

  • it is difficult complicated to encourage management of open or restricted access common property when the attitude of users leads irrevocably towards a tragedy-of-the-commons situation
  • the work of this programme adds restrictions to rules governing access to the woodland in one part of Mali (Bouna) and an increase in the power of habitual users over itinerant or occasional users
  • a consequence of this is that herders will develop a protectionist attitude to demonstrate that the wood is trully managed by them and to improve grazing quality for their own animals by excluding other herds
  • the forestry policy described in the paper, could, if extended over parts of the Sahelian zone in Mali, encourage a trend towards privatisation and a pressure towards increasing sedenterisation due to protectionism against transhumant herds. This would restrict the flexibility necessary to transhumant herds to survive unpredictable climatic fluctuations
  • the key to socially and ecologically stable relations between communities of pastoralists is the respect of kinship relations and mutually agreed reciprocal access rights

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