Let’s act now on our forest!

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Forests play a crucial role in the development of any nation. Apart from preventing global warming and building sustainable communities, forests have a variety of functions, including land conservation, security of water resources, control of climate change and creation of natural environs, which are all essential to human existence. Forests also have medicinal purposes as traditional healers collect herbs for cure of our ailments.

The Minister of Forestry and Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources Lamin Dibba recently decried the current and alarming rate of deforestation and land degradation in the country.

The national forest resources assessment of 2010 has indicated that the level of forest cover loss stands at 97,000 hectares. Isn’t that figure alarming?

As he rightly stated Gambians have a huge task at hand to ensure that the trend is reversed to guarantee a healthy and productive ecosystem balance for the present as well as generations to come.

Reducing the burden on the environment and building recycling-oriented society requires a well defined policy focus on the utilisation of community forests. The inter-link between forest conservation and global warming deserves much attention, given the role of forests as an absorber of carbon dioxide.

As we all know The Gambia is faced with numerous challenges of deforestation, land degradation, loss of biodiversity and climate change to address. Thus, it’s incumbent on all to contribute significantly towards addressing and salvaging the dire situation the country is facing.

The fact that communities are now participating in the management of their own community forests is a laudable move, but there is need for attitudinal changes, especially towards forest and its resources.

Once upon a time, The Gambia used to be a vibrant spot when it comes to spotting thick and densely populated forest across the country. The trend is reversing as our forests are degrading very fast due to human and other disasters.

We need to adopt sound forests policies and safe conservation approach to further reduce the alarming rate at which the country’s forest is depleting.

“The development of civilization and industry in general has always shown itself so active in the destruction of forests that everything that has been done for their conservation and production is completely insignificant in comparison.”

Karl Marx