Gambia has joined Senegal and Guinea Bissau to validate sustainable
participatory forest and household energy management project. The validation
ceremony was held recently in Koalack, Senegal.
Ministry of Environment, Climate Change & Natural Resources, Lamin Dibba underscored that land resources are among the most biologically productive ecosystems with unique environmental and economic benefits to man for sustainable development. He added that the level of forest degradation is estimated high due to ongoing human pressure on the forest resources of the three countries.
“The most important functions of the forest cover in these countries are the contribution of the biomass materials for the food web relevant for the livelihoods of the populations of these countries. The forest cover also provides environmental services such as reduction of excessive amounts of soil erosion, the protection of the riverbanks and water bodies, habitat for wildlife, eco-tourism and a sink for carbon dioxide. Thus, the loss of the forest cover will mean disruption of the ecological balance, habitats for wildlife, and reduction on farm productive capacity,” he said.
Minister Dibba reiterated that though they all fully realized the aforementioned values of our natural land resources, and that it is evident that they are under continuous stress of over exploitation and unsustainable practices.
The Environment minister emphasised that the populations near the resource are steadily over exploiting them for domestic, commercial, agricultural purposes, firewood, construction material, and as a result, these forests are being more and more encroached upon affecting the ecological productivity of the forest ecosystems.
“In the face of numerous socio-economic challenges, the complexity and fragility of the ecosystems, countries in the sub-region need to harmonize their strategies and policies for the effective management of these common resources. On one side, the necessity for this harmonization is inherent in the rapid population increase in the interior and periphery of these ecosystems whose needs in relative terms are increasing more and more. On the other side, the intensive exploitation of these resources and wood products by the populations has become remarkable in the sub-region,” he stated.
He lamented that degradation of forest resources in these countries has reached a critical stage, acknowledging that the fragile equilibrium between man and nature is getting increasingly out of balance.
“The successful implementation of the programme will go a long way in addressing the informal trade in forest products currently illegally practiced across the borders of these countries and as well as reduce the pressure on the forest resources to supply domestic energy through the introduction of affordable cook stoves,” he noted.