The West and Central Africa region of the World Agroforestry Centre covers a geographical area of 1200 million hectares, covering 21 countries with a population of over 330 million people. The regional office is in Yaounde, Cameroon.
The region contains two main agro-ecological zones:
•the dry Sahelian zone, a semi-arid landscape stretching from Chad to Senegal
•the Humid Tropics, spreading along the coast and extending to the central part of Africa.
The region's activities are carried out in the Sahel and in the Humid Tropics zones, known as the 'nodes' of the region.
The region is the World Agroforestry Centre's flag bearer in participatory tree domestication and tree biodiversity conservation, which aim to enhance the livelihoods of smallholder farmers through increased income and non-income benefits from indigenous trees and shrubs.
Promoting cultivation of high-value plants
In participatory tree domestication, researchers work with communities to select species from their natural habitats and adapt them for cultivation on farms. The procedure involves the identification, reproduction, adoption and diffusion of quality and high market value germplasm (i.e. seeds, seedlings, cuttings etc).
The region's researchers have selected, developed and adapted vegetative tree propagation methods of air layering, rooting of cuttings and grafting. These techniques lead to early fruiting, replication of desired traits or characteristics, easy reproduction of species whose seeds are difficult to collect and conservation of valuable species.
Indigenous fruit trees such as Adansonia digitata, Cola spp, Dacryodes edulis, Garcina kola, Irvingia gabonensis, Ricinodendron heudelotti, Tamarindus indica, Vitellaria paradoxa, Ziziphus indica have been promoted using participatory approaches.
Others include oil tree species such as Allanblakia spp and vegetables including Adansonia digitata, Gnetum africanum, Moringa oliefera; spice species such as Afrostyrax lepidophyllus, Baillonella toxisperma, Monodora myristica and medicinal species, mainly Annickia chlorantha, Khaya senegalensis, Pausinystalia johimbe and Prunus Africana.