Senegalese farmers along the Casamance River delta have planted around 152 million mangrove buds in the Casamance Delta of southern Senegal over the last decade in efforts to reforest the region.
An area of around 10,000 hectares is being replanted by the Senegalese non-governmental organisation Océanium. More than 100,000 people from 350 villages have been helping to restore these important ecosystems in what has been dubbed “the world’s largest mangrove reforestation project”.
Mangrove forests are a natural barrier against saltwater, host diverse ecosystems, and slow desertification. They also absorb significant amounts of carbon.
Senegal is home to around 185,000 hectares of mangrove estuaries in the Casamance and Sine Saloum regions. But since the 1970s, around 25% of the country’s mangrove forests have been lost. Droughts and deforestation have claimed a total surface area of approximately 45,000 hectares of mangroves.
Haider el Ali, the former president of Oceanium and now honorary member, says the mangroves are vital to help cope with the effects of climate change, as well as contributing to the local economy.
The huge reforestation project has many partners, and forms part of the Great Green Wall initiative to halt desertification and soil erosion in the Sahel.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyles including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at Rosamedea.com