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Title:Seeing the (urban) forest through the trees: governance and household trees in Niamey, Niger
Authors:Hungerford, Hilary
Moussa, Yayé
Periodical:African Geographical Review (ISSN 1937-6812)
Geographic term:Niger
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/19376812.2016.1226909
Abstract:Much of the literature on urban environments in Africa focuses on complex governance and institutional arrangements with less research on micro-scale environmental practices of households. Trees in household, however, comprise a substantial part of the urban forest composition, particularly in contexts where municipal or state tree programs are weak or unsuccessful. In the face of ineffective urban environmental governance, households become a key driver of environmental change through everyday decisions and practices. This project investigates both governance and micro-scale aspects of urban forests in Niamey, Niger. Governance has evolved from being state-centered, including both colonial and post-colonial states, to being wrapped up in international development projects of decentralization and food security. Despite overlapping institutional jurisdictions, trees in Niamey exist in a tenuous state. As a result, micro-scale practices around household trees constitute key drivers of the urban forest today. Tree count and tree diversity at the household scale were assessed through a survey with 348 households across 14 neighborhoods in the city. Through this survey, we found that poorer households had fewer trees and fewer variety of trees than others. Wealthier households were found to have the most trees, while middle-income neighborhoods were found to have the highest variety of trees present. Constraints to planting and maintaining trees were access to space, water, and money. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]