BIOsphere and Heritage of Lake Chad (BIOPALT) project
There are three main sources of livelihood around Lake Chad: agriculture, livestock farming and fisheries. Spirulina, "kerb", and gum arabic are also popular. Each source of income depends on its close relationship with the environment, and years of drought, unsustainable management and political and security unrest compromise these resources. Habitats are degraded, natural ecosystems are destroyed as well as the species that live there.
UNESCO, with its partner, Eden Project, is implementing ecological restoration activities in 3 pilot sites in the Chadian area of Lake Chad.
SUSTAINABLE SPIRULINA HARVEST
In this village, about 200 women practice the profession of harvesting and processing Spirulina (Spirulina arthrospira platensis). They are organized in four groups, including one of unmarried girls.
The loss of vegetation in key areas of the lake has made their job more difficult. In addition, the spread of the Typha australis plant reduces the area under spirulina cultivation.
Restoring the ecosystem will improve spirulina production, strengthen women's capacities and increase their financial resilience.
This village, which borders the lake, is made up of a mixture of individuals, most of whom have been displaced from the islands of Lake Chad by the Boko Haram sect. Their income is based on fishing in traditional canoes. Every day, the catch is salted and then consumed or sold locally. The fishing is uncontrolled. Four different species have been recorded in their catches, the main one being a tilapia.
The priority of the activities implemented by UNESCO and Eden Project in this area is the socio-economic analysis of the communities involved in order to assess their needs. Similarly, an analysis of the threats faced by competing fishermen is needed. Then, an analysis of the biology of the species fished, their numbers and reproduction thresholds are necessary to lay the foundations for sustainable fishing. Recommendations will be formulated and implemented to this end.
A RESTORED WADI
This wadi is reduced in particular because it is no longer connected to the lake. In the surrounding villages, subsistence activities consist of agriculture and pastoralism. Vegetation is degraded and livestock is at large. Few other commercial products or other food sources are available.
Re-flooding opportunities will be explored, land use needs assessed and sustainable management implemented.
The restoration of this wadi will allow the return of water to 7 villages and will contribute to social cohesion and peace within local communities.