Sustainable Natural Resource Management

Lead Organization:

Malian Association for Awareness of Sustainable Development (AMEDD)

Partner Organizations:

Institute of Rural Economy (IER) (Mali), CIFOR-ICRAF, IRSAT (Burkina Faso), and IIT

Community of Practice:

West Africa


Burkina Faso Mali




In West Africa, the focus on natural resource development has intensified among policymakers and communities, driven by a growing recognition of these resources’ significance for ecosystem services and rural livelihoods (Faye et al., 2010). The conservation and sustainable use of these resources play  a pivotal role in the well-being of rural populations (FAO, 2013; Gebauer et al., 2016). Unfortunately, these vital ecosystems are experiencing accelerated degradation, with rates exceeding 13 percent between 2000 and 2015 (FAO, 2016). This degradation leads to a corresponding decline in ecosystem services and biodiversity conservation. Moreover, it exacerbates the emission of greenhouse gasses, compounding the challenges in the face of escalating climate change and variability.

Farmers in the Sahelian regions of Africa predominantly depend on rain-fed agriculture (Bayala et al., 2014) and non-timber forest products (Sanogo et al., 2017; IMF, 2018), rendering them highly susceptible to the adverse impacts of climate change. These impacts manifest in increased food insecurity, malnutrition, poverty, wood scarcity (for services, energy, and timber) and further ecosystem deterioration. This ecological decline, coupled with unsustainable natural resource management practices, poses a substantial obstacle.

Mali and Burkina Faso have experienced significant exposure to climate change and variability over the past three decades (Generoso, 2015). Climate projections indicate a temperature rise of 1 to 2.75°C by 2030, leading to a projected decline in cereal yields of approximately 15 to 19 percent in Mali (Butt et al., 2003). Rainfall patterns, the primary determinant of ecosystem services’ productivity, crop yields, and farmer well-being are increasingly erratic (Leshan et al., 2018). Farmers, particularly women and youth, face heightened vulnerability because of their limited access to adaptive technologies. Adaptation and mitigation measures must prioritize the needs of vulnerable populations while offering them alternative income sources, such as sustainable agroforestry systems, alongside traditional agriculture.

Wood energy accounts for nearly 90 percent of Mali’s energy needs (Gazull et al., 2013). The demand for wood energy places significant pressure on forest resources, jeopardizing their sustainability.

This project presents an innovative approach. Creating a soil characteristics database at the village and municipal levels, linked with organic fertilization and calcium soil enhancement, marks a groundbreaking initiative in Mali and Burkina Faso. Active involvement of producers in all project phases emphasizes a redesigned model of extension, networking, and dialogue. The project’s communication and visibility strategy forms a crucial component of the revamped outreach model, featuring training videos in national languages for wide dissemination of agroecological knowledge tailored to different contexts and farming models.

Grant Aims:

The overall goal is to fully leverage geospatial technologies (remote sensing, cartography, GIS) and local knowledge to guide all agroecological interventions, ensuring sustainability.

Specifically, the project aims to:

  • Master the territorial space, its carrying capacity, and land use trends in order to develop an agroecological transition roadmap for each geographical unit (territory). 
  • Develop a farm typology and implement gender-sensitive climate-smart practices for fertilization, water conservation, and soil management according to farm type.
  • Establish a sustainable framework for the management of natural resources and the networking of users operating a redesigned model of agricultural research and extension (FRN+).
  • Influence national and regional public policies for large-scale agroecological transformation.

Outputs and Outcomes:

  • Collaborative village land use mapping
  • Comprehensive mapping of rural areas’ spatial and natural resource evolution 
  • Presentation of gender-inclusive maps depicting evolution of local spaces and natural resources
  • Gender-inclusive roadmap for agroecological transition in each village region
  • Establishment of  gender-inclusive local agreements for sustainable management of village spaces and natural resources
  • Establishment of village land commissions for monitoring agroecological transition 
  • Characterization and categorization of farmers in terms of diversity and production sector
  • Establishment of soil fertility map (pH and organic matter)
  • Agro-pedological characterization of soils targeting plots of producers in network learning mechanism for farmers
  • Establishment and animation of immersion and technological innovation centers to support agricultural entrepreneurship
  • Structuring and support of value chains for agricultural and animal products with high added value
  • Inclusive diagnostic study of local actors and institutions at local, regional, and national levels
  • Training and empowerment of learning networks involving local to national actors 
  • Co-designing farmer network learning options in collaboration with research and institutions, including traditional authorities, local authorities, NGOs, and business support services
  • Implementing farmer network learning options; recognizing diversity of ecological ecosystems with gender sensitivity
  • Incorporating geospatial dimension into learning option analyses 
  • Supporting large-scale dissemination of options tailored to context with gender equitability
  • Establishing digital platforms for knowledge exchange and communication among actors, including digital voice versions in local languages
  • Providing training for actors on applications of agroecological management and soil conservation techniques
  • Organizing innovation fairs at institutional level where co-produced knowledge is presented and discussed 
  • Expanding political support for AE by fueling strategic thinking of institutions of republicParticipation in development of structuring projects at national and regional level on AEI while considering gender equity in transversal way