FAA Section 118(E) and 119(D) Environmental Analyses
USAID/Senegal, December, 2005
This report is USAID Senegal’s response to the requirement in the Foreign Assistance Act, Sections 118 (e) and 119 (d) that stipulates every new strategy should consider biodiversity and tropical forest analyses. Sections 118(e) and 119(d) of the Foreign Assistance Act specifically state that for biodiversity:
“All country-level Operating Unit Strategic Plans must include a summary of analyses of the following
issues: (1) the actions necessary to conserve biological diversity, and (2) the extent to which the
actions proposed meet the needs thus identified.”
And for tropical forestry:
“For country-level Strategic Plans that cover countries that have any part of their territory within the
tropics, each Strategic Plan must also include (1) a summary of their analyses of the actions
necessary to achieve conservation and sustainable management of tropical forests and (2) the extent
to which the actions proposed meet the needs thus identified.:
1For the purposes of this report, biodiversity is defined as:
“Biological diversity, or biodiversity, is the variety and variability of living organisms…The
Earth’s biodiversity consists of genes, species, and ecological processes making up terrestrial,
marine and other aquatic ecosystems that both support and result from this diversity. All of
these elements of living systems interact with each other to produce the web of life on Earth –
the biosphere – a whole much greater than the sum of its parts”
This Tropical Forestry (FAA 118) and Biodiversity (FAA 119) Analysis has been developed concurrently with the development of a new five-year strategy for USAID/Senegal’s overall assistance
program. It was derived from existing reports and analyses on biodiversity and from interviews with key government officials in Ministry of Environment and Nature Protection. It is intended to be supplemented by a more in-depth analysis during the first year of the programs implementation.
2. Country context
Senegal comprises an area of 196,722 km2, which is mostly flat without any pronounced relief. A quarter of its territory is arid. As in much of West Africa, environmental degradation has placed intense strains on Senegal’s agriculture and natural resources and threatens economic livelihoods. Once expansive forests are in danger of disappearing, which negatively affects rural incomes, biodiversity and stability.
a. Biophysical aspects
Climate: Senegal has a harsh climate with generally high temperatures, and low to moderate rainfall. The rainy season is limited to a seasonal monsoon, wetter in the south than in the north. The average rainfall varies between 200 – 400 mm from July to September in the north, 400 – 700 mm in the
center, and 700 – 1000 mm from May to October in the south. Variations in amounts and timing of annual rainfall cause fluctuations in productivity of the agricultural, livestock and forestry sectors and make food security an issue for most rural dwellers.
Water Resources: The availability of water to a great extent governs land use and conditions of health or existence among most rural populations living at the subsistence level, and also affects the condition of the Senegalese economy. Water supply in the country is erratic, dependent largely on
1 USAID, 2002.
rainfall that varies greatly in amount, distribution and frequency from year to year. Groundwater reserves are still relatively abundant.
Senegal has four major rivers: Senegal, Sine-Saloum, Gambia and Casamance. Because of low rainfall and the high evaporation rate, there are practically no permanent surface bodies of significance except for the Lac de Guiers which is replenished by the floods of the Senegal River regulated by two dams. A general decrease in rainfall over the past 30 years has also affected the flood volumes of the main rivers. As a result, large areas previously occupied by mangroves near the mouths of the Sine-Saloum and Casamance Rivers have been converted into salt ponds (tannes).
This means less floodplain agriculture and rangelands, less water for fish breeding and production and decreased habitat for other aquatic animals.
Soils: The soils of Senegal range from dry sandy soils in the north, to tropical ferruginous soils in the central region, and to ferralitic soils in the south. Overall, soil fertility is low and soils are mostly fragile, making them highly susceptible to water and wind erosion. The soil texture of most fresh water river valleys tends to be high in clay and loam content. They are classified as "generally good soils", i.e., they do not have serious limitations and are able to produce good yields of suitable, climatically adapted crops. Most cultivated soils located in the Peanut Basin are "generally poor to moderate soils". These soils have one or more limitations that restrict their use, are usually of fairly low natural fertility, and generally give low to moderate yields of climatically adapted crops under traditional systems of management.
Terrestrial Ecosystems: Senegal's natural landscape grades from the Sahelian grasslands of the north with their widely spaced brushes and trees, to rainforest in the southern lowlands and mangrove swamps in the Lower Casamance region. Senegal displays a typical Sahelian fauna and flora. The extreme dryness experienced by Senegalese ecosystems during the 8-month-long dry season affects biomass production and renders natural vegetation highly susceptible to bushfires. Approximately 40 percent of the country is burned each year, provoking the destruction of pasture, crops, forests and sometimes habitations.
Marine ecosystems: Senegal's coasts are very productive for pelagic fish species. Senegal's river estuaries and deltas serve also as important nurseries for coastal fish, shellfish and shrimp. However, the habitat that supports the fishing industry is being degraded and the stock is being overfished. Nursery grounds that are accessible to marine species in the Senegal River Delta are only 5% of what they used to be. Animals that rely on fish for food, such as endangered sea turtles, birds and dolphins, are also affected by the decrease in the fish populations.
b. Socio-economic context
The population of Senegal is growing at a relatively high rate of 2.6 percent per year, having increased from approximately 3.2 million at independence in 1960 to about 10 million currently. As a result of this rate of increase, nearly 45 percent of the population is under the age of 15. Gross domestic investment rates (23% of GDP in 2003) are too low to raise the real growth rate to the 7.5 percent range essential to generate increased income and employment needed to accelerate the pace of poverty reduction. While Senegal’s 4.3% average economic growth rate over the past decade is laudable, stronger economic growth is needed to meet the Millennium Development Goal of halving poverty by 2015.
Over 60% of Senegal’s population relies on agriculture for their livelihoods (17% are in fisheries) and another 20% depend on income from agricultural secondary markets. Agriculture and fisheries contribute only 12% of GDP but represent about 57% of exports, indicating that there is room for increased growth. The actual amount of suitable agricultural land is low (19%) so population density figures can be misleading. Actual population density in productive lands can reach over 300 people/hectare. Most of this suitable land is rain-fed agriculture, with only 1.5% under irrigation. Rain-fed agriculture remains a low investment, low yield activity and won’t be able to contribute more
significantly to GDP until private sector investments are increased, agriculture is further diversified, and new technologies adopted.
Peanuts have been the main cash crop for over 150 years and the soils in the peanut basin are greatly depleted of nutrients. These impoverished soils are forcing people to migrate towards areas of
higher soil fertility, mostly towards the forested southern regions. As the population grows, and migrates into areas of higher agricultural productivity, conflicts between different land uses and populations will continue to occur and perhaps become more frequent. These conflicts are exacerbated in transboundary areas and have been one of the main causes of the regional conflicts in the Casamance and other areas.
Senegal’s rural population is also highly susceptible to droughts and other disruptions in agricultural production and therefore frequently at risk of food insecurity. During droughts or periods of poor cereal production, farmers migrate towards the ocean to take up fishing, adding additional strain on 2that resource. Fisheries supply 70% of the animal protein consumed in Senegal. In 2002, the fishing
industry contributed 2.3% to the GDP and about 12.5% of the GDP of the primary sector. The World Bank reports that Senegal’s fisheries employ both directly and indirectly some 600,000 people which is roughly 17% of the country’s active workforce. Within the last ten years, the amount of fish caught has been abundant with 398,000 tons caught in 1999 representing a commercial export value of over US $300 million. However, from 1999 to 2002, there was a steady decrease of 10% of the total landing of the fisheries sector from 398,000 tons to 341,000 tons. Since 2003 there has been an increase to 470,000 of fish caught, partly due to new management policies for opening and closing fishing seasons. Fish is the number one export representing between 25% and 30% of the country’s 3total exports.
c. Institutions, policies and laws affecting conservation
The policy environment for natural resource management and biodiversity conservation has improved over the last 10 years. Senegal now has a broad legal basis for environment and conservation, yet many of the laws are not yet fully applied and some contradictions remain. Senegal has signed and ratified all the Rio international conventions. With USAID funding, a National Environment Action
Plan (NEAP) was completed in 1997 that lays the framework for cooperation among all ministries for environmental policy and dialogue. This resulted in the new Environment Code that was established
in 2001. The NEAP was also followed by the National Plan to Fight against Desertification to
develop specific actions to combat desertification. A Biodiversity Strategy was adopted in 1998
that lays out priority areas for biodiversity conservation. The Decentralization Code of 1996 has had
considerable impact on how the environment is managed as it transferred jurisdiction for natural resource management to local governments. The Forestry Code, revised in 1998, set conditions for
the transfer of forest management to local governments which included the development of forest management plans. A new Forestry Action Plan was developed in 2005 to improve implementation
of the Forestry Code. Senegal’s Hunting Code is outdated and does not comply with the Decentralization Code but is currently being updated. No Pastoral Law exists so there are no clear
policy directives on how transhumance is to be managed, a continual source of land conflicts. Land tenure is governed by the outdated National Domain Law of 1964 that nationalized land to intensify
agricultural production. Due to this law, the local populations lost their customary management rights over their ancestral lands; including fallow and land reserves. This law does not recognize either pastoralism or natural forest management as proper land uses or tenure.
3. Status of Biodiversity
Senegal has established a network of national parks and wildlife reserves that provide a rather complete representation of natural ecosystems existing in the country. There are 7 national parks and 8 reserves which occupy some 8% of the land area of the country. In 2005, Senegal created 5 new protected coastal areas bringing the total to 12 protected areas. Table 1 shows the existing terrestrial protected area system. This considerable amount of land area placed under protected status has salvaged vestiges of the initial biodiversity, but the overall situation is alarming. Most of the original wildlife has decreased in recent years in the face of human encroachment. The protected areas have suffered from heavy commercial poaching in the past, and these areas tend to be under-staffed, under-equipped and under-funded to provide adequate protection.
Because of the vastness of the protected estate and the numbers of forest reserves (more than 200 reserves covering originally 2,519,000 hectares), the current biophysical status of Senegal’s protected
2 As stated in section 36 of “Republic of Senegal, Fishery Sector Strategy”, June 14, 2005. 3 As stated in section 31, 33 and 34 of “Republic of Senegal, Fishery Sector Strategy”, June 14, 2005.
area network is not well known today, although the loss of the major wildlife populations is well documented. The larger national parks such as Niokolo Koba, Djoudji and the Saloum Delta are better known. The remaining natural habitats and biodiversity are valuable (see Sene, 2004) and the marine and coastal protected areas are especially rich in biodiversity and provide important sources of revenue. This natural capital is being lost, yet could be an engine for rural growth through tourism, improved fisheries, or promotion of markets for natural products.
The Niokolo Koba National Park in Tambacounda covers over 900,000 ha and is the most valuable and extensive conservation park in Senegal. Although registered as both a World Heritage site and a Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Reserve it has been heavily poached in the past and has suffered from the great droughts of the 1970’s. The Djoudji National Park, a 16,000-hectare area established as a
migratory bird reserve is well protected but suffers from the construction of an anti-salt dam in the Senegal River. This has dramatically reduced the nesting areas of some species. The Saloum Delta National Park with its 73,000 ha has a village within its small forest and has practically no remaining large wildlife, yet the delta itself is rich in marine life.
Table 1: Protected Areas in Senegal
Protected Area Created (hectares) International Conventions
Niokolo Koba National Park 1954,1969 913,000 Man and Biosphere Reserve
Lower Casamance National
Park 970 5,000 World Heritage Site
Djoudj Bird National Park 1971,1975 16,000
World Heritage Site,
Saloum Delta National Park