The Regional Forestry Office in the Central River Region North, last Wednesday embarked on a mass tree planting exercise at its community forest. During the exercise, the two-hectare community forest has been planted with nine different varieties of tress including, Gmalina and Lucina.
The Deputy governor Alhaji Malang Saibo Camara, who spoke on behalf of the Governor shortly after the exercise, underscored the importance of trees to our daily lives, noting that without trees there can be no life. He, therefore, called on the people of the area to protect the planted trees against destruction.
Deputy Governor Camara further observed that burning of trees and commercial fuel wood collections are still common in the area, despite protection measures instituted by the Department of Forestry.
He indicated that with increasing population, the equilibrium between human needs and natural systems became disturbed, thus starting a viscous cycle of forest destruction caused by rampant bush fires, over exploitation of forest resources and unsustainable agricultural practices.
The Regional Forestry Officer (RFO) for CRR north, Pa Demba Sigi Jeng, emphasised the importance of tree planting and also protecting it. He said with declining forest and vegetables due to bushfires, tree felling and overgrazing soil erosion poses serious natural resource management problems as the valuable and fragile top soil is being washed away living degraded soil for farming.
Jeng noted that in the 1960s, The Gambia was endowed with dense forests with most of the forests cover as thick as the Guinea Savanna types.
He added that the Government under the dynamic leadership of President Jammeh has demonstrated its commitment through the formulation of appropriate forest policy frameworks and development of strategies since the mid-nineties. He said among the strategies is the Participatory Forest Management approach as enshrined in The Gambia Forest Management Concept (GFMC), positing that presently, over six hundred villages are involved in the participatory forest resource management programme and are managing over 25,000 hectares of forest nationwide.
The District Chief of Sami, Mam Demba Jallow, hailed the Forestry Department for providing them with the trees. He further advised the beneficiary communities to put in place strong mechanisms for the protection of the planted trees.
The Alkalo of the village, Amadou Nyang assured them that the planted trees will be protected against destruction.
by Lamin SM Jawo