Why the Great Green Walls ?

The countries of sub-Saharan Africa are among the poorest and also the most vulnerable in the world. These countries are mainly based on subsistence farming and the prospects of global warming worry their future.The World Bank and the UN have launched an initiative for several years in the sub-Saharan region of Burkina Faso, in particular to develop large-scale reforestation to limit desertification and struggle against global warming.This program aims at increase carbon sequestration in the forest, to reduce poverty by strengthening food security through participatory and local land management. This “Great Green Walls” program covers more than 300,000 hectares of land.


HOW do they use GIS

This collective land management is possible thanks to planning and monitoring using GIS tools.

The World Bank and the Government of Burkina Faso have thus provided educated but unemployed young people with a GIS to plan, deploy workers in the field, monitor progress, analyze and share the results. The data collected helps to determine the most effective next steps. For example, an effort is currently underway to continue the continuous monitoring of forests through remote sensing inputs and automated analysis. The reforestation data is then collected and synchronized on a server, where we can access the project’s real-time data.

The survey team used an Esri GIS field application to record the species of each of the 33,000 trees they planted. Nine months after the start of the project, they used the application to locate each tree and record its measurements and survival rates

ESRI drone view ( Burkina Faso)

WHY do they use GIS ?

Before using mobile GIS tools in the field, decision makers were limited by their inability to accurately assess and share results. They can now use GIS data collection and analysis to understand their progress.

For example, farmers are trying several strategies, such as building zai – a grid of pits used for deeper planting on plots of land to improve water retention. Villagers also built stone barriers around their fields to help contain runoff and increase the infiltration of heavy rain. Using GIS, they can measure the success of these approaches.



GIS also provides the means to analyze the ecosystem services provided by the growth of new trees, thanks to a new level of geospatial data captured in the field.They are even working to develop algorithms to help predict changes in forest cover in drylands. The plan is to use the collected data points to develop an artificial intelligence model.


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