The Akka-Goun forest is located in Niger River inner delta at north of Lake Debo.
It extends over an area of 399 ha. This forest has a very important ecological role in Mali and at the international level. But droughts struck the Inner Delta in the late 1970s and early 1980s, destroying 27 forests on which local people’s lives depended. Among these forests there was the Akka flooded forest.
In 1985, villagers and farmers started work to restore this forest with technical and financial support from IUCN Mali and Wetlands International later.
Akka forest which is shelter for endangered aquatic animals, including hippos, manatees and migratory birds, has been rebuilt. The participatory approach developed led to the creation of Akka-Goun Management Local Committee. Ecosystem restoration activities focused on reforestation with Acacia kirkii, Bourgou grass regeneration, the organization of grazing, forest and wildlife resources protection and communities information, awareness and training.
Nowadays millions of migratory birds spend the winter in this wetland, maintaining the local ecosystem. The birds’ excrement enriches the flood forest, where fish feed and reproduce. This process is vital to local livelihoods because fishing is the main source of income.
I interviewed a member of Akka-Goun Management Local Committee about the forest restoration process. This story will be published soon.