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Chad - Country Profile

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Biodiversity Facts

Status and trends of biodiversity, including benefits from biodiversity and ecosystem services

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

Chad is divided into three main bioclimatic zones: Sahara, Sahelian and Sudanian. The country possesses enormous inland water resources (approximately 500 billion cubic metres in total), with the Chari River, Logone River and Lake Chad the most notable among them.

Ecosystem degradation and threats of extinction of various species are undeniable. The country’s rich flora (4,318 species) and diversified wildlife (722 species), including many endemic species (71 plants, 4 mammals, 1 reptile, 1 bird, 16 fishes) are constantly under pressure from environmental factors and human activity. Species diversity is especially high in the Tibesti Desert (568 plant species), in the Zakouma National Park (700 plant species), in the southern Sudanian zone and floodplains and wetlands surrounding the various watercourses. Three turtle species are on the IUCN Red List: African Spurred Tortoise (Geochelone sulcata), Senegal Flapshell Turtle (Cyclanorbis senegalensis), Nubian Flatshell Turtle (Cyclanerbis elegans). Sixteen species are listed as threatened (11 plant species, 5 animal species). Information available on lower plants (fungi/algae/lichen), insects and animal species (other than mammals) is especially limited. An inventory of domesticated animals is in preparation. The unsustainable use of woody species and wasting of pastoral spaces have critically endangered the tree steppe ecosystem. In the Sahara Desert, the loss of woody species affects dune stabilization, hence promoting wind and sand erosion of cultivable lands. The more fertile lands of the south are under pressure from intensive farming and conversion to croplands which are occurring at an alarming rate. While millet and sorghum occupy 60% to 80% of the cultivated areas, the zone also specializes in cotton production. These mono-crop cultures have greatly contributed to diminishing soil productivity in the Moyen-Chari region. Natural regeneration is disturbed, fostering the regression of perennial species in favour of annual ones, thus leading to biodiversity loss. Clear-cutting for sorghum cultivation on the peripheral slopes of Lake Fitri also threatens plants and animal species in the biosphere reserve. The protected area network represents 11% of the country’s territory, including the recent creation of the Sena Oura National Park (73,890 ha). However, these protected areas are being destroyed to meet the basic needs of a growing population. Wildlife conservation occurs mainly in protected areas however carnivores, ruminants and avian fauna are threatened by the loss of their habitats. Most of the classified forests are in a highly degraded state. In Zakouma National Park, renewed outbreaks of illegal hunting have decimated the elephant population by more than 80%. However, stable and growing populations of waterbucks, buffalos, antelopes (alcelaphus and damaliscus) have been observed.

The fauna in the Borkou-Ennedi-Tibesti (BET) region has suffered as a result of droughts and poaching. The region nevertheless remains a refuge for a few threatened species (oryx, addax) or species in need of protection status (ostrich, cheetah, gazelle, barbary sheep). The Sahelo-Sudanian zone probably harbors the last lions (panthera leo), cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) and lycaons (lycaon pictus) of the Sahelian countries.

Over the last decades, inland waters have undergone desiccation as a result of recurring droughts. Declining vegetation surrounding watercourses, deforestation (Lake Fitri), overgrazing and cotton cultivation (Lake Léré) have promoted erosion and contributed to the extent of desertification. The resulting silting up of many affluents removed a total of 210,000 ha from the hydrographical system. Lake Chad has undergone one of the most dramatic shrinkages, dropping from a surface area of 25,000km² (1963) to less than 2,000 km² (nowadays), and from a volume of 86 billion cubic metres to 18 billion cubic metres (1992). Massive irrigation projects carried out by Chad’s sugar company on the Chari River and watercourse deviation resulting from rice field irrigation and aquaculture practiced by a neighbouring country have also contributed to freshwater depletion. Biodiversity is highly at risk in these ecosystems. Wetlands surrounding the many watercourses allow a great diversity of migratory birds to nest and reproduce; these species are endangered as a result of loss of their habitats.

The total number of bird species which have been recorded in the country is 532, including 354 residents and 155 migrants (of which 117 are Palearctic in origin). One hundred and thirty-six fish species have been identified in the Lake Chad basin. In the 1960s, the fishing sector produced 200,000 tons per annum while today’s production is less than 120,000 tons. Efforts are being made to preserve Tilapias (Oreochromis niloticus) and Catfishes (Clarias sp.) through aquaculture and controlled fish stocking. Forty known species form the basis of the country’s agrobiodiversity. The National Office for Rural Development implemented a breeding program aimed at improving and adapting cultivars to the effects of climate change. The adoption of these new adapted breeds has marginalized the use of local varieties leading to the disappearance of some species and severe genetic erosion of cereals and legumes (sorghum, millet, groundnut). It is recognized that the study of species’ genetic resources and variability requires attention. Virtually no germplasm is being conserved. Further, no research on the exploitation or conservation of the genetic variability of domestic animal species has been undertaken.

Ninety-five percent of the population relies on woodlands and forest resources for charcoal and firewood; an estimated 4 million individuals rely on traditional medicine as a primary source of healthcare. The forests represent a great economic asset, yet this potential remains largely unknown. Of the 7 tree species benefiting from protected status, the Arabic Gum Tree (Acacia seyal) and the Shea Butter Tree (Vitellaria paradoxa) are the most commonly known. The Arabic Gum Tree covers a surface area of 38 million ha, mainly in the Sahelian zone, while 50 to 60 million Shea Butter Trees exist in the Sudanian zone, of which only 4% to 5% are exploited. It takes 4 to 5 million Shea Butter Trees to produce around 500,000 tons of nuts per annum, hence there is still a great potential for exploiting this resource. There is also a great agronomical and economic potential to be exploited from wild species and fruit trees.

Freshwaters of the Chad Basin are among the most productive in Africa, currently supplying 120,000 tons of fish per annum, as above indicated. The fisheries sector employs 300,000 individuals, and a further 1000 individuals are indirectly employed by this sector. The domestication of Spirulina platencis, known for its rich nutritional value, is estimated at 80 to 100 tons per annum. Chad is also the second global gum producer behind Sudan, and hopes to occupy first place by 2020. The country is responsible for 6.7% of global gum production, representing 7% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product. The livestock sector represents 53% of the rural Gross Domestic Product and sustains 40% of the rural population.

Main pressures on and drivers of change to biodiversity (direct and indirect)

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

Biodiversity loss in Chad has been greatly affected by recurring droughts and the extent of desertification. However, overexploitation and the unsustainable use of biological resources, due to extreme poverty and demographic pressures (waves of refugees, growing population), are the main drivers of loss. Pressure on terrestrial ecosystems and biodiversity is exerted through poorly managed pastoral systems, deforestation, land clearing and bushfires for intensive agriculture, not to mention by the proliferation of pests and invasive species. Unsustainable fishing practices using prohibited gear and toxic chemicals also threaten watercourses. This problem has even spread to the national parks (Sena Oura, Zakouma and Binder-Léré). Pollution from the mining industry and petroleum extraction also poses a threat to freshwater and its wildlife. There is a significant lack of financial investment, specialists, equipment and infrastructure to conduct appropriate research on species and genetic resources and comprehensive inventorying of plant and animal species for monitoring purposes. Also lacking are surveillance measures and tools to address clear-cutting and poaching.

Measures to Enhance Implementation of the Convention

Implementation of the NBSAP

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

The coordination of the 2000 NBSAP is ensured by the National High Committee on the Environment. The NBSAP’s five strategic objectives are to: improve biodiversity knowledge and surveillance; conduct inventories, conserve and/or restore ecosystems and threatened species; increase the use of alternative resources; adopt sustainable harvesting practices; develop benefit-sharing mechanisms in management practices. The action plan was to be implemented within 10 years, with the possibility of revision, which has not been done. Although the NBSAP is well developed, implementation has not been effective due mainly to a lack of funding which has created obstacles in regard to stakeholder participation.

Actions taken to achieve the 2020 Aichi Biodiversity Targets

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

The 2010 goal to attain 11% protected areas coverage has been reached. Although large conservation projects have been implemented, results remain insufficient. Particular efforts toward communication, information, training and awareness are required. The country also recognizes the need to mainstream the NBSAP in socio-economic policies and strategies, adopt a legal act to regulate the sustainable use of biodiversity, prepare a website to promote biodiversity, undertake restoration actions in protected areas as well as other types of actions. A study of citrus tree varieties is presently being undertaken.

Support mechanisms for national implementation (legislation, funding, capacity-building, coordination, mainstreaming, etc.)

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

With a view to mainstreaming biodiversity conservation and sustainable use, Chad has committed to integrating strategic objectives in various policies, strategies and plans, such as: National Poverty Reduction Strategy (2002); Rural Development Intervention Plan (2003); National Program for Food Security (2005); Master Plan for Agriculture (2003); Master Plan for Fisheries and Aquaculture (2003); National Policy for Traditional Medicine (2001). Although technical reports confirm the fact that biodiversity continues to be degraded, certain sectors, such as the mining sector and livestock sector, have not yet integrated biodiversity in their strategies.

Mechanisms for monitoring and reviewing implementation

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

There is an absence of a mechanism and tools to integrate biodiversity in sectors as well as monitor biodiversity. Although biodiversity is prioritized in certain national policies, it is felt that perhaps other sectors continue to fail at addressing issues in their policies and strategies due to these technical deficiencies.

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  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme