Serigne Samb is a farmer in the small village of Thiamb'ene Till in north-western Senegal: an area which has seen a drastic reduction in tree cover due to grazing pressures, shifting cultivation, and tree cutting. The loss of tree cover has meant loss of valuable fodder for domestic animals kept by the villagers.
Samb recognized the negative effect that deforestation was having on his livestock herd and so in 1983 he established the first sylvo-pastoral field in Thiamb'ene Till. Samb fenced in 14 hectares of his farm using cuttings from Euphorbia balsamifera. His intent was to use the fenced in area as a fodder reserve in drought years.
The natural regeneration of Acacia raddiana developed extremely well inside Samb's fenced field in contrast to the barren lands around it and after only four years of protection, the number of trees/ha had increased from 10 to 1,250. Samb's experiment has been a great success and has stimulated other farmers and community members in the region to adopt similar practices.
His farm has become a model for soil conservation and environmental protection and has attracted the attention of the PROBOVIL project, which is making technical improvements and organizing visits by farmers from neighbouring villages. Samb's example clearly demonstrates that individual farmers, using locally developed technologies, can rehabilitate and protect their land and increase their level of productivity at the same time.