by samuel kofi nyame iucn ghana 23 27 10 2006 n.
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By Samuel Kofi Nyame IUCN, GHANA 23-27/10/2006. BUILDING BIODIVERSITY INTO ALLANBLACKIA INITIATIVES: FOREST AND AGRICULTURAL LANDSCAPE OPPORTUNITIES. Outline of presentation. A. Brief overview of existing work / knowledge: Distribution, Inventory and description

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by samuel kofi nyame iucn ghana 23 27 10 2006

Samuel Kofi Nyame



outline of presentation

Outline of presentation

  • A. Brief overview of existing work / knowledge:Distribution, Inventory and description
  • Allanblackia Project in Ghana
  • Development and use of harvesting guidelines
    • Objectives
    • Challenges or management issues
  • AB & Biodiversity Conservation - FLR & Agricultural LS approaches.
  • B. Key lessons for practical deployment
  • C. Important gaps where further work needed

A. Brief overview of existing work / knowledge


Family : Clusiaceae - contains ~ 40 genera worldwide, but appears to consist of nine tree species, all restricted to Africa.

Genus: Allanblackia : Taxonomy - appears somewhat complex, with some species having numerous synonyms, and the divisions between taxa are indeterminate;

- molecular genetic studies are currently underway, though no results are available yet, to help delineate the relationships and boundaries between species.

  • All members of the genus are apparently dioecious (separate male and female trees),
  • Tree single stemmed, up to 40 m tall, with whorled branches, long-lived and long-fruiting, and the biggest fruit of all plants in African rainforest (particularly A. stuhlmannii)


  • Allanblackia species are mainly distributed in the wet evergreen rainforest (and, sometimes, surrounding farmland) of the lowlands of Sierra Leone, along the Gulf of Guinea, through the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), to the uplands of the Eastern Arc Mountains of Tanzania.


  • Densities of Allanblackia trees through the range of the genus are patchy and surveys are ongoing.
  • But at some sites for which data are currently available, species can (especially in wetter areas) be found at high stand densities (including of mature individuals, for example in some Tanzanian forests), sometimes being one of the dominant trees.
  • Allanblackia trees are retained when other forest trees are cleared, possibly for local use of the oil or to attract bush meat.
  • Reasonable densities of remnants can sometimes be found in farmland after forest cutting.
  • Tanzanian stands can reach high densities but actual overall size of the Allanblackia resource in Tanzania limited.- relatively small geographic areas (the small mountains of the Eastern Arc).
iucn ab project in ghana

IUCN - AB project in Ghana

  • Allanblackia: standard setting and sustainable supply chain management project”
  • Funded by SECO and implemented by IUCN through its members.
  • Launched in Ghana in March 2005 with an initial duration of three years.
objectives of project

Objectives of project

Development objective - is to promote sustainable development and trade in Allanblackia oil as a contribution towards national economic development, by diversifying income sources to improve the livelihood of poor rural communities and by fostering sustainable biodiversity conservation and management in Ghana.

Specific objective - is to promote the instruments (Best Practice Guidelines) that will ensure sustainable harvesting of Allanblackia as well as equitable sharing of benefits amongst the various stakeholders .

expected outputs of project

Expected outputs of Project

  • Best-practice guidelines for Allanblackia harvesting are adopted by industry and collectors,
  • Biological and socio-economic baselines are established,
  • Institutional and legal aspects regarding Allanblackia harvesting are clarified; and
  • Allanblackia supply chain is managed in a way that is environmentally sustainable, socially equitable and economically viable, with primary producers trained in good practice harvesting methods
expected outcome or benefits

Expected outcome or benefits

  • Long term:
    • Ghanaians will take over the market
    • Reduced poverty in pilot field sites,
    • Increased export earnings and improved national-level economic development,
    • Functioning small- and medium-scale businesses along the supply chain; and
    • Improved forest quality and cover through protection and restoration of forests with native species
expected outcome or benefits1

Expected outcome or benefits

  • Short Term:
  • Development of good-practice guidelines.
  • Impact of wild picking of Allanblackia on biodiversity and on local socio-economic conditions will have been determined.
  • Small- and medium-sized enterprises have new skills on running their businesses, which will help them to operate independently in Allanblackia markets when the project ends.
  • Local public in Ghana as well as global public internationally aware of the Allanblackia public-private partnership and its implications for forest conservation.
partners in the project

Partners in the project

  • The Forestry Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG)
  • The Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA)
  • Technoserve (TNS)-
  • Intercooperation (IC)

Development and use of harvesting guidelines


To secure a sustainable supply of Allanblackia seed to meet the needs of the buyer (currently only Unilever).

Short term:- used for harvesting seed from natural stands by the Unilever supply chain.

Long term: applied to Allanblackia harvesting from natural and cultivate stands involving other buyers or supply chain arrangements.

Although these guidelines have been developed for Ghana, they are expected to be largely relevant in other countries within the Novella initiative

objectives of guidelines

Objectives of guidelines

  • Sustain biodiversity in the landscape (minimise adverse effects on biodiversity, making a positive contribution where possible),
  • Sustain social and local economic values (enable local communities to protect and improve their well being and environments),
  • Sustain the physical environment (minimise adverse effects on the physical environment); and
  • Sustain product supply and value (produce high quality product, while maintaining the viability, diversity and yield of existing source trees)

The main message of these guidelines is that, if you adhere to these measures, you will have a market for your Allanblackia seeds.

challenges of the guidelines

Challenges of the guidelines

  • Acceptance and adherence by stakeholders in the supply chain,
  • Accessibility and understanding of the guidelines,
  • Enforcement of guidelines; can one be sanctioned for non-compliance, apart from non-purchase of nuts? If yes, what sanction? Will it be lawful or not?
  • How to encourage community-based efforts that will promote structures that enable the equitable sharing of biodiversity benefits and associated intellectual property rights.
  • Funding of the various research programmes outlined in the guidelines e.g. agricultural research needed to determine what inputs are needed or desirable for the agroforestry systems or plantations advocated by the guidelines
allanblackia and biodiversity conservation a forest landscape restoration approach

Allanblackia and biodiversityconservation- A forest landscape Restoration Approach

What is the relationship between AB and biodiversity?

  • Sustainable wild-harvesting will lead to more equitable benefits sharing from the forest resource.
  • Allanblackia will provide an increased incentive to maintain and enhance the integrity of the resource (especially if buyers demand good practice),
  • Smallholder productions of Allanblackia can help enhance the integrity of forest landscapes and
  • Allanblackia incorporated into farming systems contributing to improved landscape connectivity

Forest Landscape Restoration

A process that brings people together to identify, negotiate and put in place practices that restore an optimal balance of environmental, social and economic benefits from forests and trees within a broader pattern of land uses

what is flr

What is FLR?

  • Focuses on restoring forest functionality
  • Landscape context. Site-based decisions within a landscape context.
  • Local stakeholder involvement in planning management options
  • Double-filter
  • Trade-offs
  • Adaptive management – learning process
  • No single-solution approaches but a package of tools
  • Requires supportive local and national policy frameworks over the long term
  • Can be applied not only to primary forests, but also to secondary forests, forest lands and agricultural land
flr ab


Allanblackia provides a unique opportunity to use a native tree species, with environmental and economic benefits, to restore degraded forest lands in Ghana and other African countries that have experienced a period of exotic species plantations resulting in negative consequences for local biodiversity and livelihoods.

flr ab cont d

FLR & AB cont’d.

  • How?
  • AB tree has thick bark for reducing risks of farm fires during the dry season since the tree keeps the ground moist) and thus adds to its positive qualities for restoration.
  • Allanblackia casts only minimal shade with its narrow crown and is sometimes hard to remove because it sprouts easily.
  • Smallholder productions of Allanblackia can help enhance the integrity of forest landscapes,
  • Incorporating Allanblackia into farming systems will contribute to improved landscape connectivity.
risks of using ab in flr to biodiversity

Risks of using AB in FLR to biodiversity

  • Possibility of over-harvesting seed sources which may impact regeneration,
  • Evolution of Allanblackia into a plantation tree (contrary to Novella Project objectives).
  • Habitat disturbance issues linked to seed collection.
  • These risks can be reduced through careful management and by promoting legislation that favours the sustainable use of Allanblackia and enhances livelihood security and forest governance.
lessons learnt

Lessons Learnt

  • Local communities’ abilities should be enhanced to benefit from the forests, through initiatives such as the Novella Project.
  • Legislation that favours the sustainable use of AB and other natural resources, and that enhance livelihood security and forest governance should be promoted.
  • Species that are dependent on Allanblackia fruit and seed should be monitored and if necessary promoted
  • Paths used for wild (forest) harvesting should avoid parts of the ecosystem that are considered of particularly high value
lessons learnt cont d

Lessons Learnt cont’d.

  • Impacts (positive and negative) on other species (including animals) should be considered before introducing the tree into new areas.
  • Natural and artificial Allanblackia regeneration should be promoted to compensate for the inevitable decline resulting from the loss of seed input from the ecosystem.
  • Harvesting guidelines are not easy for local communities to comprehend, and need to be simplified and translated into local languages.
some important gaps where further work needed

Some Important gaps where further work needed

  • Research into cocoa – AB interactions (positive & negative) on each other.
  • Impact of AB collection on animal species dependent on AB and vice versa
  • Research into cocoa farming that examines the integration of shade trees into cocoa plantations from a landscape restoration perspective
  • Allanblackia as one of a number of forest products that can be integrated into cocoa and other tree crop plantations.
  • Diseases, pests or parasites that AB is prone to and its resistance to these and other stress factors in the wild, on farmlands and in smallholder plantations.
some important gaps where further work needed1
Some Important gaps where further work needed
  • Feasibility and commercial viability needs to be researched into to provide the needed information that will motivate people to cultivate AB.
  • Can Allanblackia cultivation provide an alternative cultivation system that contributes towards the development of a more sustainable agriculture?