Gambia: Please overlook profit and consider repercussions of deforestation on society!

Each time one walks along the streets, one is bound to see one or two trucks carrying timber heading towards various destinations. It is no crime to venture into a trade that is legal, but it is important for those involved in such a business to overlook profit and consider the repercussions of deforestation on the society. Forests have a huge impact on the environment. The trees help in balancing the oxygen-carbon dioxide concentration by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen.

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Forests contribute in regulating temperature, they regulate the
distribution of rainfall. Trees impede the velocity of run-off on the
soil surface, thwarting soil erosion and landslides, thereby reducing
possibilities of flooding. The leaves that fall on the forest ground
act as nutrient sources that increase soil fertility. The forests also
offer shelter against adverse environmental conditions and for diverse
forms of wildlife.

Moreover, forests are significant not just
ecologically but also economically. Firewood, commercial timber, gums,
raisins, medicine, and other products for industrial use are obtained
from the forest. Those who are in the trade must recognize these facts
in their struggle to maximize the business. Indiscriminate felling of
trees and conversion of forest-lands into agricultural fields,
industrialisation, mining, and overgrazing by domestic animals are all
contributing factors to the loss of this exhaustible natural resource,
as they lead to loss of biodiversity.

Many species of plants and animals are already extinct. Others are also fading away, due to the loss of habitat. There is also the loss of essential medicinal herbs. Other major impacts include soil erosion, flooding, and desertification. Furthermore and very importantly, the degradation of the forest results to the decrease in the amount of rainfall we receive. Rainfall is the only way of replenishing our natural water resources, and trees determine the rainfall in a particular region.

If they no longer exist, drought sets in, bringing with it its own set of problems. In fact, we should pay greater attention to this reality as our country is agriculture-dependent and lies in the Sahel region.

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Comments (1)

Stephen KlaberMarch 25th, 2009 at 6:48 am

Part of the solution to your problems is the exploitation of another resource for fuel- Typha. All across Africa Typha is clogging waterways. It is a dessication machine drying out lakes and rivers, and building up the land until it is no longer viable as a waterway. It is also a breeding ground for many pests. It is one of the most productive plants there is, and every bit of it is exploitable for fuel as ethanol or charcoal. Much of it is fit for human consumption, but it has a janitorial urge, and cleans water and soil by absorbing pollutants, so not just any can be eaten. Its clearance would solve many problems. Its use would solve even more.

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