Momodou Lamin Njie, made the comment at the opening of a two-day training for environmental journalists on food security, marine resources management and poverty reduction among others held at the Nana conference hall in Kanifing.
He said: “423, 000 hectares of the total land area is covered by forest while two percent or 20 000 hectares is covered by inland water. There is a continental shelf area of about 4000-km2, thus making The Gambia’s waters among the richest fishing zones in the world. This is attributed to the presence of the nutrient rich flows from the river Gambia and its mangrove rich estuary. The availability of vegetation cover also influences the migratory pattern of many animals, birds and marine species. National resources are vital and they must be properly managed. The proper management of natural resources provides the basis for sustainable development through the provision of food, clean, water, clean air, fuel or energy, medicine and other essential goods and services.”
He warned of the impact of forest degradation to marine and terrestrial environment, saying it could lead to reduction in mangrove productivity and reduction of closed woodland leading to open savannah desertification. “It could lead to extinction of Large mammals like lions, elephants, tigers, etc. It also causes deposition of eroded sand in the rice fields thereby causing low yield that affects food security, climate change, soil erosions, food scarcity for both human and animals from the forests and as well flooding.
“Bushfire is the most destructive agent in Gambian forests. Bushfires destroy both living and non-living things. It can cause deforestation which leads to desertification. Deforestation also causes hunger and increases carbon dioxide in the atmosphere thus contributing to global warming. Bushfires seriously reduce fodder for animals and impacts negatively on livestock sub-sector.”
Other speakers were Dawda Saine of the national Platform for Sustainable Fisheries and the DPS at the Ministry of Fisheries. The programme was supported by the EU, UNDP, WWF-Wampo Project.]]>