Burkina Faso

Participatory management of protected area peripheries in the PONASI landscape


Partners: Nitidæ, Naturama, CERDE.

Key thematic areas

A landscape approach that integrates the conservation of natural resources in protected areas and their sustainable management by communities.


Internal migration, mainly of Mossi and Peuhls peoples, and expansion of agricultural areas with little or no fallowing has led to a decline in soil fertility. Loss of grazing lands has created farmer-herder conflicts as livestock stray onto farmlands, and weakly managed protected areas have become a refuge for pastoralists seeking pasture and water sources during the dry season. The resulting land degradation and loss of forest cover is visible by satellite.


To contribute to improved livelihoods for communities in the PONASI ecological complex, while increasing environmental conservation and resilience to climate change.


The PONASI geographical complex (from ‘Pô-Nazinga-Sissili’) spans 355,000 hectares near the border of Ghana in southern Burkina Faso. Although the region benefits from higher rainfall than other areas of the country, this dwindles to 10 mm per month in the dry season and there are few permanent water sources. Electricity and gas are scarce, making firewood the main source of energy for over 90% of people. The complex’s rich biodiversity is threatened by increasing population pressure and encroachment from nearby rural communities. Patients often must travel more than 40 kilometers for medical care, and lack of development within local economies around the complex has led to increasing tensions and conflicts. Yet the area shows strong economic and environmental potential for sustainable and inclusive rural development.


The five-year LANDSCAPE project aims to help reduce the pressures on the PONASI complex and strengthen social cohesion among four communities: Bieha, Guiaro, Sapouy and Pô – approximately 60,000 inhabitants in 50 villages. Taking a landscape approach, the project aims to develop a more inclusive management of the complex through co-design and implementation of economic activities and sustainable sylvo-pastoralism practices, starting with village management committees and scaling up to municipal, regional and national levels.

Specific actions

The LANDSCAPE project aims to: i) Develop a more sustainable rural economy through intensive agroforestry activities such as planting of fast-growing trees; the establishment of 20 boreholes in 20 market gardening sites bringing together 400 women during the dry season, and development of income-generating activities such as beekeeping, poultry farming, non-timber forest products and rainfed crops; ii) Promote participatory local governance and social cohesion in the PONASI complex through raising awareness and creation of thematic village committees for participatory management of village lands and natural resources; and iii) Strengthen capacities in project management, communication and government relations through the design and implementation of a communication strategy with a steering committee that meets every six months.


Sophie Yoago, s.yaogo@nitidae.org

Further information