Strategies for Sustainable Development of Non-Timber Forest Products in Senegal
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In recent years, forests have been increasingly recognized as rich reservoirs for many valuable biological resources. As a result of the devastation caused by drought, clearing land for agriculture, and overexploitation of timber, there has been a growing interest in non-timber forest products (NTFPs). The Senegal Forestry Action Plan, designed to ensure sustainable forest management, stresses the importance of identifying the constraints to and opportunities for sustainable development of non-timber forest products. This paper seeks to accomplish this and to suggest sustainable new NTFP development initiatives. First, data on products and prices from Senegal's Forestry Service and reports and other documents were examined to identify constraints to NTFP management and opportunities for NTFP development. Then, a thorough literature review of topics related to NTFPs was completed. Informal interviews with NTFP specialists were also conducted. Finally, a case study analysis examined NTFP management and utilization in conditions similar to Senegal. Management and utilization constraints can be removed when policies involve local populations. While some policy opportunities facilitate sustainable management, further efforts must be made to involve all NTFP stakeholders. Successful programs will organize stakeholder groups or enterprises, inventory all forest resources, develop NTFP focused pilot projects including the cultivation of native NTFP species, and give gender considerations high priority.