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Adventures in Arboriculture

Up River

GAMBIA | Monday, 16 June 2008 | Views [955]

Yesterday we took a Pirogue up river through the dense mangroves to reach an area of high gallery forest. Despite being nearly 40 degrees on our trip up the river it was much cooler in here. Our guides, Alfa and Samba were excellent, being able to tell us a good deal about all the tree and shrub species we encountered. Bush tea, bark for medicine and seed pods for flour. They are very interested in going to visit Kartong with Matt to teach the guides there about the species in the community forest.

We saw mature Sito - Baobab (from which we have some fruits to make a delicous drink from), Bantango - Silk cotton (pictured) and the Saba Senegalisis, whose fruit is much sought after. It provided much sought after refreshment for our onward journey.

Even here in this protected forest illegal felling has taken place, as it has in so many of the other areas we have visted. Even in the Gambia's National Park - Abuko Forest, where we spoke to Mr Jalang the Director, who despite having not been paid since last July still comes to work to try to motivate the rest of his staff, all of whom are also working without salary, relying on tips from vistors.

We were scheduled to visit Kartong today to undertake our meeting with the village elders and the Alkalo. However, we recieved word this morning that one of the heads of the seven families within the village had died during the night, today he will be buried and so our meeting has been postponed until tommorrow.

We have also set up a meeting with the Regional Director of the Forestry Dept, to discuss the illegal felling and to see what, if anything they can do. In the Kartong Community Forest it is the Rhun Palms that have been most sought after. They are easy to fell and termite resitant so usefull for many building applications. We spent a day in the community forest with Amadou on friday assessing the situation. The state of this 'protected' forest is much better than the surrounding land, but is far from ideal, there is much to be done.   


Tags: forests, gambia, international tree foundation, kartong, trees

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