The Role of the Shea Tree
The shea tree (Vitellaria Paradoxa) has an enormous socio-economic importance in Burkina Faso as a source of biomass and nuts, fruit for food and shade for smallholders. The shea trees also provide an essential ecological and environmental role (e.g. as a carbon sink, soil conservation, etc.)
However, even though the shea tree is an endangered species protected by CITES and the national forest code, it continues to be exploited for biomass, as a fuel for heating and for the production of coal and fuelwood. It is therefore crucial for the shea industry to define strategies to reduce deforestation (Sustainable Development Strategy of the Shea Sector in Burkina Faso, 2013).
In Burkina Faso, between 1990 and 2010, the total forest area has decreased by 68,470 km2 – 56,490 km2, representing a loss of 17.5%
What are We Doing to Support & Protect Shea Trees?
We are helping the Burkina Faso shea sector shift towards cleaner production methods and away from using firewood. This includes, decarbonising the value chain, preserving biodiversity, reducing GHG emissions while continuing to improve rural livelihoods.
For Each Eco-Processing Centre that We Build, We Commit To:
- Create shea tree nurseries to act on reforestation/afforestation by planting shea trees for the future
- Create awareness around the role of the shea tree in local communities through training
- Implement monitoring methods and mapping technology, with the support of the Burkina Faso Government, to enforce avoided deforestation and encourage precision agro-forestry