GAMBIA ENVIRONMENTAL ALLIANCE OPPOSES DE-GAZETTING OF NATIONAL PARKS, CALLS FOR IMMEDIATE BIODIVERSITY PROTECTION
The Gambia Environmental Alliance (GEA) expresses deep concern over the Government’s decision to de-gazette parts of Nyanaberi Forest Park in Jarra and Bijilo National Park for office buildings, hotels, and a village. These forests are vital to The Gambia’s biodiversity, under stress from encroachments and climate change.
Bijilo Forest Park (1952) and Nyanaberi Forest Reserve (1954) are home to diverse flora and fauna, including red colobus monkeys, hyenas, and unique bird species. These reserves enrich biodiversity, benefit communities, and boost the national economy through tourism. Degazetting risks the sanctity of these natural habitats and endangers endangered species.
GEA urges the Government to reverse this decision, upholding constitutional and legal obligations to protect the environment, notably the Banjul Declaration, Biodiversity and Wildlife Act, and Forestry Act.
No valid reason justifies de-gazetting. It threatens the environment, paving the way for further encroachment as seen in Bijilo Forest Park. Continued encroachment in other locations exacerbates the threat to our environment.
Communities already feel the impact of climate change, worsened by uncontrolled forest resource harvesting without restoration. Recent heavy downpours in the Central River Region, attributed to tree depletion, are alarming.
Disruption of natural habitats increases conflicts between mammals like monkeys and hyenas and human populations. Such encroachment jeopardizes safety and well-being.
GEA is resolute in its commitment to protecting our natural heritage. The Government must act to safeguard our parks, enforce environmental laws, and mitigate climate change effects.
We call on all Gambians to recognize their environmental obligations. GEA ensures no forest reserve in The Gambia is de-gazetted.
GAMBIA ENVIRONMENTAL ALLIANCE (GEA)
ISSUED DATE: OCTOBER 30, 2023