‘Mangroves are environmental indicators, carbon-foot’

Friday, August 25, 2017

The National Environment Agency (NEA) is implementing the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Global Environment Facility (GEF) Least Developed Countries Development Funds (LCDF) Project “Enhancing Resilience of Vulnerable Coastal Areas and Communities to Climate Change in the Republic of The Gambia”.

The objective of the project is to reduce Gambia’s vulnerability to sea-level rise and associated impacts of climate change by improving coastal defenses and enhancing adaptive capacities of coastal communities.

The effect and impact of salt intrusion as a result of climate change seriously and continues to affect livelihood support systems of shoreline communities, making them vulnerable to poverty, hunger and food insecurity.

In some of these communities, mangroves and other forest species are dying at an alarming rate making access to fuel wood and aquatic species such as fishes and crabs very difficult to get.

The alternative livelihood component of this project is striving to ease Climate stress in affected local coastal communities whose farmlands and rice fields are affected by the phenomenon of Climate Change.

It is from this back drop that the project embarked on a massive mangrove planting in the West Coast, Lower River and North bank Regions in an effort to regenerate the lost coastline mangrove and vegetation cover within these localities.

According to mangrove restoration expert, Hatab Camara, mangroves are environmental indicators and serve as carbon sink, therefore playing a pivotal role in harnessing and conserving the aquatic life cycles and protecting the environment from depletion.

“This makes it more a reason why the project has planted over four million propagules this year throughout the mangrove regeneration project sites in the said three regions,” he disclosed.

He called on the local communities to take ownership of the restoration programme and jealously protect and guard the new plants against intrusion from animal and man, particularly fishermen’

At the already grown mangroves that were planted two and three years ago, Camara reiterated the fact that the “No Tree-No life” warning is that the destiny of tomorrow`s environment lies in hands of today.

After a thorough survey of all the affected areas within the project spheres in the three regions, Camara unveiled that an area of over 400 hectares has been identified for restoration and over four million propagules were collected for the 2017 planting season.

Bakebba Ceesay and Molifa Ceesay, both said the project through its mangrove restoration program has come to give life to not only the populace of the local community, but has assured the environmental future of their generations not yet born.

The village elders thanked the UNDP, GEF and NEA for implementing four-year project for restoring their shoreline mangrove vegetation and further described the project as a success story.

Author: Yai Dibba
Source: Picture: Cross section of the local community