Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School


First Advisor

Darrell Napton


Burkina Faso, Farmer managed natural regeneration, Land management, Sustainability


Human actions such as overgrazing, the development of cities at the expense of forests, high intensity and poor agricultural management, and so forth, reduce the resources available for future generations. Because Earth has limited resources, it is important to judiciously use and manage natural resources. Human actions towards nature are the focus of my research in Africa. Increased demands for grazing, agriculture, and ecosystem services led some farmers in developing countries to use unsustainable practices, which may lead to low incomes and poor food nutrition for households. Farmer managed natural regeneration (FMNR) may be a solution to these issues. FMNR is a land restoration technique that consists of the protection and management of naturally regenerated trees to increase the value and quantity of woody vegetation in croplands. This increases food and wood production, farm income, and makes farmers more resilient to weather extremes. My research examines FMNR impacts in the Nord Plateau Mossi of Burkina Faso, where some farmers, men and women who till the land, work on or operate farmland, or make decisions about how a particular piece of farmland is used, were able to revegetate degraded lands. Few studies, however, show the impacts of FMNR on farmers’ lives. I wanted to know how FMNR affects soil productivity, household access to a variety of foods, and farmers’ income. To reach my objectives, I interviewed farmers in the study area to learn their motivations for choosing whether to adopt FMNR. In addition to providing motivations, the interviews provided information about how FMNR led to changes in families’ food and income. Additionally, I collected soil samples under trees and away from trees to assess their impact on soil fertility. The main findings of this research revealed that trees increased soil fertility by increasing soil carbon, organic matter, and nitrogen. Additionally, trees contribute 81 to 184 USD to household income per year. Trees also facilitates the obtaining of firewood, improves household access to a variety of foods, provides medicinal products, reduces wind speed, and keeps the soil moist. Tree leaves are used to fertilize croplands, make compost, and protect croplands from sunlight. Tree branches are used as poles for construction, wood for granaries, and fences. The findings of my research demonstrate an improvement in farmers’ lives and land which, in turn, can be used to educate other farmers to adopt FMNR to restore their degraded croplands, and thus contribute to the fight against poverty and hunger in Burkina Faso.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Natural resources -- Burkina Faso -- Management.
Forest regeneration -- Burkina Faso.
Environmental management -- Social aspects -- Burkina Faso.
Environmental management -- Economic aspects -- Burkina Faso.
Land use, Rural -- Burkina Faso.
Agriculture -- Environmental aspects -- Burkina Faso.
Sustainable agriculture -- Burkina Faso.
Restoration ecology.



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University



Rights Statement

In Copyright