After a devastating bush fire in 1973, the village of Ando Kpomey created a green belt buffer around its community that has grown into a 100-hectare forest. A participatory management committee has been established to monitor the forest and its resources and to regulate its use. The community authorizes limited resource extraction to meet livelihood needs – both timber and non-timber forest products – and manages revenues generated from the sale of forest-based products. Local women are authorized entry to the community forest to access firewood, significantly reducing the average time needed to forage for cooking fuel. Various crops are grown in the forest, including a range of medicinal plants which have served to bolster local healthcare needs.
Neighboring communities have been enlisted to protect the forest, and have benefited from knowledge sharing on natural resource management, participatory planning and forest conservation. The village hosts peer-to-peer learning exchanges to share lessons learned, and has done so with communities and organization across Togo and Burkina Faso. The Ando Kpomey community forest model has been replicated by five communities in the local prefecture.