Tourism stakeholders embark on afforestation

Friday, July 25, 2008
The Gambia Experience, a United Kingdom tour operator in the country, in collaboration with the Association of Small Scale Enterprise in Tourism (ASSET), on Saturday planted 2,500 trees comprising of gmelina and fruit trees at the Abuko Nature Reserve Better Zone, as part at their annual tree planting festival.

The day’s exercise was meant to mitigate carbon emission in the atmosphere through sustainable use and maintenance of the forest cover, as well as to restore the forest cover in a bid to reduce the effect of green house gas emission, amongst others.

Speaking at the occasion, Bubu Pateh Jallow, permanent secretary at the Department of State for Forestry and Environment said that the planting could not have come at a better time than now when the country’s rainfall has decreased by 30% in recent years, noting that, the trees planted will go a long way in restoring the losses.

According to him, through planting trees, The Gambia was able to remove 600,000 tons of carbondioxide from the atmosphere, noting that through deforestation the country has also pumped 700,000 tons of carbondioxide into the atmosphere. He noted that the importance of planting trees cannot be overemphasised, stressing that all hands must be put on deck to ensure the protection of the country’s vegetation cover.

Adama Bah, program coordinator, Travel Foundation, stressed the need for the protection of the country’s flora, noting that sustainable tourism cannot be effective without vegetation cover.  He noted that as stakeholders in the tourism sector, they have a role to ensure the protection of the natural vegetation.

For his part, Alpha Omar Jallow, director of Parks and Wildlife said his department, which is charged with the responsibility of ensuring the sustainable utilisation of wildlife resources through eco-management systems, signed a memorandum of understanding with the Gambia Experience Climate Change Initiative last year with a view to make use of the 29th buffer zone of the Abuko Nature Reserve, to plant and protect trees.

He noted that the initiative is in line with their mandate of promoting active community participation in reducing carbon emission in the atmosphere. He explained that trees have numerous functions such as providing oxygen for humans to breath, remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, provide habitats for wildlife, attract rainfall, as well as medicinal values.

The parks and wildlife director implored all and sundry to endeavour to restore deforested and degraded areas, noting that the services that trees provide cannot be paid for. He further hailed the organisers for such a noble venture, noting that the crusade should be emulated by other stakeholders.

Badou Bobb, chairman of the Association of Small Scale Enterprises in Tourism said in sustaining tourism, the country’s green vegetation need to be cover and protected. He assured that the event will be organised annually.

Author: by Hatab Fadera