As the Gambian population is growing, the Gambian Forest is depleting at a drastic rate, due to the expansion of other land uses and the increased need for forest products, especially timber and fuelwood. From 1998 to 2010, The Gambia lost about 97,000 ha of forest and wooded land, respectively 18%, according to the latest forest assessments. In average, this is more than 8000 ha per year. Statistically, if the trend continues, The Gambian forest will have vanished in about 55 years.
The reduction of trees has a major impact on the environmental health locally, regionally and globally. Trees provide the important service of soil protection, wind breaker, shelter and shade. The rural population deeply depends also on the non timber products for food, fodder, medicine and cosmetics. Forests harbour valuable biodiversity, serve as carbon sink to mitigate climate change, and prevent desertification. Thus, entire sectors, such as agriculture, fisheries and tourism benefit from a healthy forest cover. Climate change and deforestation at the other hand exceedingly lead to droughts, floods and storms world wide, which is taking its toll on life and properties.
Over-exploiting the natural resources, we are leading a lifestyle with no perspective. Looking at sustainability, we should only borrow, what we need from the environment and not exhaust it, but rather give back. Losing more forests means we are taking the opportunities of the coming generations to enjoy the same natural resources as we do today.
Protecting the environment for a bright future has become everyone’s business. Tree planting and the choice for alternative fuels and improved stoves can help to mitigate the up-winding environmental challenges and household energy crises. GreenTech Company Ltd provides hands on solutions for households and industries. For more information, see www.greentechgambia.com or contact us under firstname.lastname@example.org