Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Fuel-wood energy threatens Gambia’s forest cover

Heavy reliance on the forest cover for fuel-wood (firewood and charcoal) continues to destroy The Gambia’s forest cover.

A report by the National Planning Commission says the over-reliance of the major urban centres on fuel-wood is destroying the country’s forest cover, causing deforestation and environmental degradation.

Consequences of deforestation

Continuous cutting down of trees for fuel-wood is contributing to desertification and low food production in the country and this could lead to increased hunger and poverty.

The report further states that valuable trees are fading away in The Gambia which can be used for medical purposes.

Rapid loss of forest

According to UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), the forest zone of The Gambia is 48 per cent of the country’s land area.  But from 1990 to 2010, the country lost an average of 1,900 hectares per year which is 3% of the forest cover due to fuel wood consumption.

Briquettes as an alternative

Lenja Guenther, the project coordinator at Green Tech, an environmental solutions company, said the use of renewable energy like briquettes can be a suitable solution to the threats fuel-wood consumption is posing on The Gambia’s forest cover.

Groundnut shells can be used as briquettes to substitute firewood and charcoal, she said.