Conservation Society of Sierra Leone plants 10,000 mangroves
The Conservation Society of Sierra Leone (CSSL) has in two days planted 10,000 mangrove trees at the Sierra Leone River Estuary, Crab Town, Aberdeen in Freetown to protect migrating birds and fish as well as prevent environmental degradation by land encroachers and sand miners. (Photo: CSSL Biodiversity Officer and Project Manager, Migrating Birds, Papanie Bai Sesay)
CSSL Biodiversity Officer and Project Manager, Migrating Birds, Papanie Bai Sesay underscored the importance of planting mangroves at the Ramsir Site, Aberdeen adding that Government and Ramsir signed an agreement in 2004 to conserve the wetland for yearly migrating spices from Europe during winter in addition to protecting the four proposed marine protected areas in the country that are: Yowriebay in the Western Area and South, Sierra Leone River Estuary in the Western Area, Sherbro River in Bonthe and the Scarcies Estuary in the North.
Papanie Bai Sesay continued that these sites are vital to the environment and that the planted mangroves would enhance the trees to become absorbers of chemicals coming into the river to destroy the living elements and prevent flooding adding that 90% of Sierra Leoneans depend on fish and that the mangroves would not scare them away as they need shade to rest and lay their eggs.
He further disclosed that mangrove trees were earlier planted in 3,650 acres but lamented that the trees were destroyed by sand miners revealing that the organization believes in community sensitization and cordial relationship and would formulate bye-laws involving all stakeholders and law enforcement agencies to protect the trees.
He further revealed that if the pilot project succeeds, it would be replicated in all the four proposed marine protected areas in the country.
The Chief of Crab Town, Vidal Kenneck acclaimed the Conservation Society of Sierra Leone for protecting the country’s marine areas that would in turn protect birds and fish stating that several people have encroached on the creek areas due to poverty for which he appealed to Government to provide social amenities like health centre, schools, pipe-borne water among others to people in slum communities stating that youths in the community effectively participated in the planting of the mangroves.
Vidal Kenneck also pledged to work amicably with the organization to plant 5,000 coconut trees to demarcate and strengthen the embankment areas where the mangrove trees have been planted adding, “this is the most effective replanting of mangroves that the community is ready to protect by enforcing the bye-laws to look after the demarcated area that will be of immense benefit to the community. Furthermore, after maturity, the mangroves will attract tourists to the area to view the various spices of birds migrating into the country.”
Foday Yillah, a youth and Coordinator of the planting exercise, lauded the venture of CSSL and underlined the value of the Conservation Society in discouraging them from destroying the mangroves to construct houses and acclaimed CSSL for educating them about the significance of trees to protect birds, fish and control flooding which takes place annually in the community.
He concluded, “if we cut down these trees again, then we are exposing our community to extinction.”
By Abdul R. Bedor
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