By: Sheikh Alkinky Sanyang Hatab Camara, Mangrove Restoration Assistant of the NEA/UNDP/GEF Coastal resilience project has called on the villagers in the Lower River Region (LRR) community of Kiang Kantong Kunda to plant as many trees as possible particularly mangroves as part of efforts to restore the already lost mangrove vegetation that Kiang West has enjoyed for ages.He said mangroves serve as environmental indicators while they equally provide a home to many aquatic lives, breeding spots for young juvenile fish and above all a carbon sink. Camara recently made these comments during the project`s mangrove restoration planting exercise in Kantong Kunda, where the occasion was graced by the entire village populace who took ownership of the initiative in regaining their old glory by planting thousands of seedlings. Counting on their motivation to embark on this restoration exercise, the local UNDP expert disclosed that along the Bintang Bolong tributary from Bwiam in WCR to Sandeng in LRR, there is a presence of high mortality rate of mangroves on one hand and salt intrusion on the other. He said even the stock of fish these communities enjoy is getting scarce. In an effort to help those communities get back on to their livelihood support systems, the project decided to restore the lost mangroves. He said planting Mangroves is not difficult provided that one observes some basic guidelines that will lead to a successful sustainable restoration program. On the pre-conditions for this successful exercise, Camara revealed that the project has conducted an initial survey of representative habitats in areas close to the chosen site, identified and selected mangrove species, types of substrate, depths of water at high and low tides, salinity of water trapped in mangrove mud at low tide, among lots of other researches conducted before any exercise. “We are happy to assist local vulnerable communities with technical support, training and sensitization in any way possible but the ultimate responsibility of doing the work will reside in the villagers themselves,” Camara lamented, reiterating that it’s the duty and responsibility of all to keep our marine ecologies protected and conserved. Commenting earlier, Molifa Ceesay a village forest committee member locally coordinating the exercise noted that the project`s foresight in helping them regenerate their vegetation cover and ecosystem is to prepare them to fight climate change through carbon print. Counting on the numerous benefits derive from vegetation, the village elder called on the young generation to positively contribute to the restoration of their lost forest covers and create new woodlots to reduce the stress loaded on the remaining diminishing forest cover. He therefore called on his compatriot villagers to jealously guard their forest covers and sustainably use them for the benefit of their unborn future generations. The village women head Mabinta Ceesay disclosed that it is their responsibility to galvanize popular will for the restoration of the entire wetland area, promising that with time the remaining unplanted area would be restored. The National Environment Agency (NEA) is implementing the United Nations Development Program (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 defences and enhancing adaptive capacities of coastal communities. ]]>
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