, Volume 42, Issue 3, pp 309–319 | Cite as

Opportunities and Challenges to Capturing the Multiple Potential Benefits of REDD+ in a Traditional Transnational Savanna-Woodland Region in West Africa

  • E. Gunilla A. Olsson
  • Syna Ouattara


The REDD+ scheme of the United Nations intends to offer developing countries financial incentives to reduce the rates of deforestation and forest degradation for reducing global CO2 emissions. This is combined with building carbon stocks in existing wooded ecosystems and fostering other soil, biodiversity and water conservation objectives. Successful application of REDD+ to the Xylophone Triangle of West Africa faces substantial challenges and risks to both meeting REDD+ objectives and to the local people’s rights and livelihoods. The transnationality of the culturally coherent area requires collaboration of three national governments. The opportunities, however, are great to capitalize on the region’s biodiversity, the well-developed traditional ecological knowledge and the use of local medicinal plants as an integral part of the agro-ecosystem. Possibilities open to, not only sequester carbon, but also to increase the resilience of the ecosystem and of independent rural livelihoods in the face of climate change and globalization.


Traditional ecological knowledge Sustainable use of woodland biodiversity Medicinal plants Community-based management Climate change REDD+ 



We thank K. Gerhardt and two anonymous reviewers for valuable comments on this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Global Studies, Global Sustainability Studies, Human EcologyUniversity of GothenburgGothenburgSweden
  2. 2.School of Global Studies, Global Sustainability Studies, Social AnthropologyUniversity of GothenburgGothenburgSweden

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