MANAGEMENT MATTER? EFFECTS OF CHARCOAL PRODUCTION MANAGEMENT ON WOODLAND REGENERATION IN SENEGAL
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In Senegal, as in many parts of Africa, nearly 95% of its growing urban population depends on charcoal as their primary cooking energy. Extraction of wood for charcoal production is perceived to drive forest degradation. The Senegalese government and international donor agencies have created different forest management types with the ultimate goal of sustainably managing forests. This research combines local ecological knowledge, ecological surveys and remote sensing analysis to better understand questions related to how extraction for charcoal production and forest management affect Senegalese forests. Information derived from 36 semi-structured interviews suggests that the forests are degrading, but are depended on for income, grazing and energy. Interviewees understand the rules governing forest management types, but felt they had limited power or responsibility to enforce forest regulations. Ecological survey results confirmed that plots harvested for charcoal production are significantly different in forest structure and tree species composition than undisturbed sites. Across harvested and undisturbed and within forest management types the Combretum glutinosum species dominated (53% of all individuals and the primary species used for charcoal production) and demonstrated robust regenerative capacity. Few large, hardwood or fruiting trees were observed and had insufficient regenerative capacity to replace current populations. Species diversity was higher in co-managed areas, but declined after wood was harvested for charcoal production. Proximity to villages, roads and park edges in harvested and undisturbed plots and within forest management types had little impact on forest structure and tree diversity patterns with the harvesting of trees for charcoal spread consistently throughout the landscape. Remote sensing analysis with the MISR derived k(red) parameter demonstrated its ability to accurately classify broad land classes and showed potential when differentiating between pre- and post-harvest conditions over a three year time period, but could not accurately detect subtle changes in forest cover of known harvest time since last harvest in a single MISR scene. This research demonstrated the utility of multidisciplinary research in assessing the effects of charcoal production and forest management types on Senegalese forests; concluding that the effects of charcoal production on forest characteristics and regenerative capacity are consistent throughout all forest management types.