Climate Adaptation Technology in Burkina Faso: traditional, and enhanced “bunds” (stone lines) for arid and semi-arid lands

Simple, cheap, water harvesting system utilizes local materials and villager cooperation. One third of a million acres have now been reclaimed. Nowhere in Africa has a conservation technology spread so fast.

Uploaded on Jun 20, 2011

Stone lines or (“bunds”) slow down runoff, incerease water infiltration and for the basis for improved production in semi-arid areas. At the same time, sediment is captured behind these semi-permeable barriers. Stone lines were originally a traditional technique in the Sahel, but have been improved by careful construction, and through alingning on the contour.

A perennial grass (Andropogon guyanus) is sometimes planted to supplement the lines where stone is scarce. Stone lines are suited to low slopes, high runoff and hand labour. This technique is readily adopted by resource-poor farmers and can lead to a harvest even in years with low and erratic rainfall. Wide and deep planting pits (zai in Burkina Faso; tassa in Niger) are often used in combination, acting as microcatchments within the field.

Further details
Critchley W (2010) More People More Trees. PA Publications
Critchley W and Seigert K (1991) Water Harvesting. FAO
Reij C (1991) Indigenous Soil and Water in Africa. IIED
WOCAT (2007) Where the Land is Greener. CDE. FAO. UNEP

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