Country study on burkina faso biodiversity conducted by the permanent secretariat of the national council for the management of the environment and the national

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This report is the result of a collective work undertaken with the participation of representatives from various activity sectors at both central and decentralised levels dealing with the management and use of biological diversity. The Permanent Secretary of the National Council for the Management of the Environment and the executive summary team wish to express their deepest gratitude to:

  • the political and administrative authorities of the Houet, Kadiogo and Sanmatenga provinces for their warm welcome and for having organised the workshops for reviewing the first draft of this report;

  • the officials and technicians from national and international institutions who supplied the needed data for the completion of this report;

  • to the participants of the national and regional workshops who contributed a lot to enrich and improve the quality of this document.

On behalf of the Burkinabè authorities, we thank UNPE, the Canadian Nature Museum and UNDP very much for their technical advice which made the drafting and improvement of this document possible.

We also extend our thanks to all individuals and legal entities that contributed to the drafting of this report.

use of TERMS

Allogamy: Pollination of a flower by a pollen from another flower coming or not from another plant.

Beetles: Coleoptera that lays eggs in flower of peas and whose larvae eat the seeds of this plant.

Cryptogames: Flowerless, fruitless and seedless multi-cell plants (as opposed to phanerogames).

Genotypic: Overall genes contained in the chromosomic D.N.A. of a living cell.

Macrophytes: Generic term used to designate any plant that can be seen with the naked eye (ant.: microphyte).

Phanerophyte: Used for plants whose terminal buds and sprouts are situated on stems.

Riparian: Vegetation that grows on the banks of rivers.

Spontaneous: Used for a plant that grows naturally in a region without being introduced by man.

Therophytes: Annual plants.

Tradipractitioner: A person practising pharmacopoeia and / or traditional medicine.
Vertisols: Very clayey soils.


National monographs aim at collecting and analysing biological, economic and social data which will enable to determine the framework for the development of national strategies and plans of actions (PNUE, 1993).

Since the term “biological diversity” is relatively new, this report underlines the essential characteristics of biological diversity for sustainable development.
This document about the situation in Burkina Faso, in terms of biological diversity, reveals that praiseworthy actions have already been undertaken in the past but there is still a lot to do.
A total of nineteen (19) thematic studies dealt with the various issues related to the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity. These studies are concerned with the overall information and results, which are presented in this report.
Burkina Faso is a landlocked Sudanese-Sahelian country, with a surface area of 274 200 Km², located in the heart of West Africa. Its population is about 9 190 000 inhabitants (INSD, 1991), with an annual population growth of 2.63%.
The present situation of the country’s biological diversity is characterised by the destructive pressure of man and animals which mainly results in bush fires, shifting cultivation, population pressure, overgrazing and excessive use of biological resources. In addition to these man-caused factors there is the effect of successive droughts which have been occurring since 1970. The conjunction of these two main factors lead to the accelerated deterioration of biological diversity.
In order to deal with this trend, the country has undertaken or is still undertaking actions in order to ensure the sustainable use of biological resources.
The results of the taxonomic inventories made in this national survey on biological diversity are as follows:

1. Species
Table (i) below shows the situation of the inventory of species according biological diversity elements.
Table (i): Situation of surveyed species





















2 394




Higher fungi


Herbaceous plants


Ligneous plants



1 407


3 801

2. Ecosystems:
In Burkina Faso there are three main types of ecosystems:

  • Terrestrial ecosystems: 25 140 000 ha, or 91.22% of the country;

  • Aquatic ecosystems: 72 500 ha, or 0.26% of the country;

  • Intermediate ecosystems: 371 000 ha, or 1.34% of the country.

The rest of the country includes other types of environment, particularly dunes, towns, rocks and roads.

3. Biological resources
The richest habitats of species (in terms of quantity and quality) amount to the various conservation areas of terrestrial fauna (national parks, synergetic areas, biosphere reserves), forest reserves, natural and artificial wetlands (ponds, lakes of dams, developed areas).
The overall data from the thematic studies conducted in response to the needs of this report show the following contributions of biological diversity to the national economy in 1996.

  • wood: 177 394 million m3;

  • big fauna: 35 species whose inventory has not been exhaustive;

  • fisheries: 12 500 tons per year of which only 7 000 tons are utilised;

  • forest and fruit seedlings produced in nurseries: 12 million of which only four million are planted;

  • cereals: 2 963 300 tons including 129 700 tons of rice;

  • peanut: 194 400 tons;

  • tubers: 41 170 tons;

  • fibre plants: 177 600 tons of cotton;

  • livestock (bovine, ovine, caprine, pigs, asine, equine, camelidae): 18 million heads (animal breeding accounts for the equivalent of 12% of GDP and 16% of exports);

  • rabbits: 67 000 heads;

  • pets (dogs and cats): 900 000 heads;

  • poultry: 22 million heads;

  • non ligneous forest products (e.g. honey, shea kernels, neere seeds).

In addition, there is sight-seeing tourism which contributes to the national economy. In 1993 this contribution was 17 791 548 US dollars.

Some types and/or species of fauna and flora have an important economic value because of the high profitability of the products they provide. They are, for example:
Cotton (fibre, seeds...)

Rice (human feed);

Tomato (human feed);

Cowpeas (human feed);

Sesame (oil, confectionery...);

Corn (human and animal feed);

Peanut (seeds, oil, drying of leaves for hay...);

Shea-tree (kernels, wood...);

Neere ( pulps and seeds used for making soumbala...);

Mango-tree (fruit);

Citrus fruit (fruit);

Cashew (nuts);

Tamarind (tamarind);

Soya (Soya milk, beans for making soumbala, Soya oil, cakes for animal feed...);

Red sorghum (sorghum beer, human feed);

Millet and white sorghum (human feed);

Sorrel (drink, seeds, fibres, sauce);

Medicinal plants;

Exotic vegetable plants;

Gum-bearing plants;

Edible higher fungi;

Livestock (proteins, foreign currency);

Wild animals (proteins);

Elephant (ivory);

Fishes (proteins);

Shea caterpillar (human feed).

Let us note that data figures have not been established yet for some products taken from biological diversity. This is the case, for example, of pharmacological products and a lot of non-ligneous forest products (e.g.: Most fruits picked up from spontaneous species, straw used for thatching roofs, etc.).
4. Endemism
In Burkina Faso the situation of endemism at the level of flora and fauna is not well known; Nevertheless, it was found that 23 vegetable species surveyed in Burkina Faso are endemic in West Africa.
5. Threats
As far as threats on species are concerned, few inventories have been made because of the relatively new situation of the attention paid to the various constituent components of the country’s overall biological diversity.
However, it was found that losses in biological diversity are mainly due to the following threats and trends:

  • bush fires and biotope destruction;

  • population pressure leading to the decrease of fallow;

  • Shifting cultivation and destruction of species and ecosystems;

  • poverty and recourse to the satisfaction of immediate needs;

  • climatic pejoration.

6. Endangered species
The number of endangered species is low, but this certainly does not correspond to reality, since research work on their identification is recent and very little. Endangered species have been numbered according to the following categories:

  • mammals: 8;

  • birds: 3;

  • reptiles: 2;

  • fishes: 1;

  • trees: 15.

7. Measures in favour of the conservation of biological diversity
The measures, in force, aiming at reversing the trend hinge on regulation, Programming, planning and implementation of developmental action. The main items of these measures are:

  • Structural Adjustment Programme and its sectorial components;

  • National Plan of Action for the Environment (PANE);

  • Strategic plan for scientific and technological research;

  • Agrarian and Land Reform (RAF);

  • Environmental Code;

  • Forest Code;

  • Water Code

  • Mining Code;

  • Integrated Rural Development Programme.

8. Spending on conservation of biological diversity
According to official data, the implementation of the overall measures by governmental structures during these five years (1992-1996) cost 230 579 million CFA francs (as far as annual budgets and projects within the framework of the Public Investment Programme) divided as follows: 11 433 million CFA F financed with the State’s own resources, 11 181 million CFA F born by self-financing of activities and 205 966 million CFA F from external support (loans and subsidies). Besides these expenses, there is a substantial NGO financial support to the management of renewable natural resources.
The financial need of the Burkinabè State to complement its own efforts amounts to 27 056 million CFA F for all actions within the framework of PANE (1994).

9. Options of conservation of biological conservation
With regard to the present situation of biological diversity, the following general options have been put forward:

  • inform and sensitise more decision-makers and actors about the need to safeguard biological diversity;

  • make the whole population accountable for a good conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity;

  • deepen knowledge, including local know-how about biological diversity;

  • strengthen national capacities in sustainable management of biological diversity, particularly in the domain of training and appropriate infrastructures.

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