The Department of Forestry of The Gambia has issued a press release expressing concern over what they said was widespread illogical logging taking place in some parts of the country.
The department said they have gathered that there are numerous “unscrupulous wood Dealers” who are engaged in illegal logging across the country, especially in Kiang West, Niamina East, CRR North and URR North.
“It has been brought to the notice of the Department of Forestry that unscrupulous wood Dealers are engaged in illegal logging in The Gambia particularly in the Kiang West, Niamina East, CRR North, URR North and other places. This activity is significantly contributing to the reduction of our already limited forest cover, the released stated.
“Meanwhile, our information indicate that while engaging in illegal logging in The Gambia, these dealers go to the extent of forging and\or using documents purportedly obtained from outside the Gambia for the transportation of their logs\timber within the country under the pretext that they are imported logs and timbers.
“This act we believes involves a chain of actors and accomplices more than just the typically Wood dealers. This is in contravention of the Forestry Law. Therefore all those involved in the chain of Actors, as facilitators and enables of illegal logging and transportation are seriously warned to desist from them. Any person caught in this kind of activity will face the full force of the law with the risk of losing to the state both the products and the means used for their transportation.”
The release also informed that the forestry department has suspended the issuing of “felling permits” across the country as part of an attempt to curb illegal logging.
“As a measure to further control illegal logging in the country, the Department of Forestry is suspending the issuing of felling permits across the country with immediate effect, unless in exceptional cases which must be cleared with the competent forestry officers in the regions,” the release stated.
“In this regard the ministry of Environment, climate change, water, forestry and wildlife is urging all Regional forestry officers to comply with these measures while soliciting the support of Alkalos, District Chiefs, Regional governors and Security services in enforcing all necessary measures to stop illegal logging in The Gambia.”
The Gambia is one of the regions in the Sahel Region that is severely affected by the climate change and climate variability.
The country has witnessed drought in 2011 prompting the Government to declare emergency food crisis and also in 2014 similar drought affected the country living many farming communities in hunger.