Despite their socio-economic importance, forests and other woodland vegetation are declining rapidly in Africa. In the Sahel, climate change and desertification intensify this problem and the local population is lacking woodland resources for daily life. Therefore, there is a need for improved and long-term restoration of degraded ecosystems. The present article investigates an approach of sustainable forest restoration by Assisted Natural Regeneration (ANR) with fencing, a technique adopted by newTree, a Swiss NGO, since 2003 in the Central and Northern zones of Burkina Faso. The present article investigates the effects of ANR on vegetation restoration and on population’s livelihood. Methods include vegetation inventories, literature review, analysis of newTree technical reports from 2003 to 2012, stakeholders’ interviews and cost-benefit examination. Results show a striking development of vegetation within only nine years of protection. Inventories of trees inside and outside fences show that variety of tree species and number of trees is much higher inside the protected areas than outside fencing. Moreover the approach of newTree contributes to farmers’ livelihood improvement by the valorization of non-wood forest products (NWFP) and sustainable agriculture. Costs for fencing are relatively high but on the other hand the approach is very effective by involving the population in a participatory way. The double objective – biodiversity conservation and poverty reduction – can be effectively achieved by the whole approach of newTree using ANR technique. ANR could be applied in areas where tree planting is made difficult by the poverty and the lack of water for the creation of nurseries.