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newTree Project

Migratory bird conservation in the Sahel region of West Africa

In the Sahel region of Burkina Faso, degraded land is protected from animal browsing and deforestation by means of small-scale fencing (each covering around 3 hectares). This project, led by the NGOs newTree and tiipaalga, enables natural and sustainable reforestation, which benefits local farmers and restores soil fertility in the long term. Biodiversity also benefits from these small areas with a big impact.

Domain Conservation
Unit Species Recovery
Topic Species Recovery, Habitat Promotion, Migratory Birds
Habitat semi-open farmland
Project start 2022
Project completion 2026
Project status ongoing
Project management Alain Jacot
Project region Africa


Project objectives

Our study analyses the positive effects of this measure on biodiversity, specifically on migratory and breeding birds, and on the livelihood of local farmers.


We are studying the effects of the fencing on bird communities using acoustic monitoring. In particular, we are investigating how seasonal fluctuations in vegetation affect habitat utilisation by resident and migratory birds inside and outside the enclosures. In a second socio-ecological approach, we assess the importance of different ecosystem services for the local population and other stakeholders.


This project provides important information on the optimal vegetation structure to benefit both the birdlife and the local population. Our work demonstrates the critical importance of small-scale habitat restoration for sustainable livelihoods and bird conservation. The findings serve as an argument and basis for future reforestation projects in the Sahel.

Project partner(s)


Species concerned

Alpine Swift
Tree Pipit
European Bee-eater
European Roller
Blue-cheeked Bee-eater
Tawny Pipit
Common Whitethroat
Pallid Swift
Common Grasshopper-warbler
Willow Warbler
Garden Warbler
Common Redstart
Grey Wagtail
Icterine Warbler
Spotted Flycatcher
Great Spotted Cuckoo
Rufous-tailed Scrub-robin
Iberian Chiffchaff
Common Cuckoo
Greater Short-toed Lark
Common Swift
Northern House Martin
Black-eared Wheatear
Eurasian Blackcap
Common Nightingale
Western Orphean Warbler
Melodious Warbler
Ortolan Bunting
Eurasian Golden Oriole
Barn Swallow
Savi’s Warbler
Red-rumped Swallow
Woodchat Shrike
Western Yellow Wagtail
Sedge Warbler
Rufous-tailed Rock-thrush
Common Reed-warbler
European Pied Flycatcher
European Turtle-dove
Common Quail
Wood Warbler
Subalpine Warbler
Eurasian Wryneck
Common Hoopoe
European Nightjar
Eurasian Scops-owl
Species Recovery link

Species Recovery

Wildlife conservation coordinates the development, improvement and dissemination of measures in favour of priority bird species that cannot be helped by habitat protection alone. Together with BirdLife Switzerland and the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), the department also coordinates the “Species Recovery for Swiss Birds” programme.

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