The alternative livelihood component of the UNDP/GEF Coastal Resilience Project recently engaged local communities on a massive mangrove regeneration exercise along the south bank of the River Gambia.
The project, “enhancing resilience of vulnerable coastal areas and communities to climate change”, is a four-year project devised to enhance resilience of vulnerable coastal areas and communities to climate change and to reduce the country’s vulnerability to sea level rise.
The activity sought to restore the open and dieback areas in the mangrove ecosystem to help in the development of agricultural activities especially the gardens and rice fields which salinity is highly claiming. As breading areas for fishes, oysters and clams, the restoration of mangroves in these areas it is hope would enhance the living conditions of communities and contribute to enrich the environment. It will also serve as a home for biodiversity.
Speaking at the sites, Hatab Camara, the UNDP/GEF Mangrove Restoration Field Assistant said the project sought to assist local communities who are on the coastal zone of The Gambia. He noted that communities that reside in coastal zones have lose greater part of their lands around the coastal area, therefore, making them vulnerable and impossible to attain sustainable food security for livelihoods.
“Approximately a land of 100% now 85% is been annexed by sand intrusion and is all due to deforestation and it is causing erosion from the upland area to the river site. Studies have indicated that for a mangrove to survive it need a warm temperature of 24 degrees Celsius and when the temperature is above that it dies. This erosion of sand into our river bands continues to kill a lot of mangroves gradually,” he added.
He explained that if the river dip continues to swallow then the sea rise increases, noting that it is these two combinations of erosion and sea level rise that is causing high modality among the mangroves. He added that this is the reason the project was developed to support vulnerable communities like Kiang, West Coast Region and Tanbi Wetland.
According to Camara studies have indicated that these three places are the most affected areas in terms of mangrove mortality. He disclosed that last year alone the project planted about 1.7 million propagules and 85 percent was able to survive; this year the project is targeting 3.4 million with 2.4 million already planted.
Camara disclosed that the restoration exercise in all intervention sites was done successfully, noting that the community participation in the villages was very impressive.
The elders of all the concern villages and there Alkalolu were very happy and expressed their appreciation about the activity.
by Samba Jawo