Grassland restoration

The hilly landscape of Northern Maroua, Cameroon was once rich with tall trees and green fields. With sufficient rain, local farmers enjoyed consistent crop yields and herders grazed their healthy livestock. But in the last two decades, demand has increased for farmland, pasture, and firewood for cooking at the expense of forests and grasslands.

Southern Kenya, along the border with Tanzania and north of Mount Kilimanjaro, is predominantly inhabited by Maasai communities, which rear their livestock across seemingly endless rangelands.

Southern Kenya, along the border with Tanzania and north of Mount Kilimanjaro, is predominantly inhabited by Maasai communities, which rear their livestock across seemingly endless rangelands. However, these landscapes and their ecosystems are steadily degrading. In these areas, Justdiggit partnered with several local organisations to empower women, who often have trouble starting their own businesses, to restore their landscapes in a way that can financially benefit them.  

Restoring and sustainably managing degraded land and forests is a national priority for Niger. It has been since the 1980s, when farmers restored over 1 million hectares of land without any external aid. Still, each year, the country loses about 100,000 hectares of arable land from overgrazing, uncontrolled logging, unsustainable forest management and fires. More than 75 percent of Niger’s area is affected by deforestation and desertification, which threaten the livelihoods of millions of people.

Between 1990 and 2010, Kenya’s forest cover decreased from 12 percent to only 6 percent. The country has now committed to bring it back to 10 percent by 2030. In Kenya’s Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs), deforestation is largely driven by increasing local demand for wood for construction and cooking, overgrazing, and grass fires. Deforestation and land degradation are especially serious in areas where droughts, exacerbated by climate change, are threatening already limited water supplies.

In Burkina Faso, people depend heavily on natural resources: grasslands for their livestock, freshwater and rain for their crops, non-timber forest products for food, plants for medicines, and firewood for cooking. But these natural resources are under pressure from the changing climate and its symptoms: erratic rains, high temperatures, increasing dryness, poor and easily degraded soils.