Putting a price on drylands in Niger

25 August 2009 | News story

Located in the heart of the West African Sahel, Niger covers over 1.27 million km squared. The Agadez Region of Niger is exceptional in a number of ways.

With an estimated population of 310,000 inhabitants, it contains only 2.9 percent of Niger’s population but covers more than half the national territory and has the lowest population density of any region in Niger.

Within the region and at the heart of the Sahara lies the Aïr and Ténéré National Nature Reserve, mainly composed of the Aïr mountain massif and the western part of the Ténéré plain.

The reserve has a predominately desert climate with an average annual rainfall below 100 mm and a long dry season with temperatures on average higher than 35°C.

The region of Agadez specializes in pastoralism, which is the single largest source of income for local households (46.5 percent).

The value of some other non-timber forest products collected from drylands is estimated at more than seven percent of national GDP, almost double the value reported in official national accounts.

“Many direct use values, such as the provision of fuel wood, fodder and traditional medicines, are either not estimated or are seriously under-valued in official economic statistics, leading to neglect by policy-makers and under-investment in sustainable management,” says Joshua Bishop, IUCN’s Chief Economist.

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