28 November 2012

Gambia: Wood Export and Forest Use


As government lifts the ban on wood re-export in the country, stakeholders in this lucrative trade under the banner of the Association of the Wood Re-exporters and Forest Users converged to discuss their dos and don'ts in the business. Such a convergence is of course significant and we hope the resolutions agreed thereupon will be adhered to.

There is no iota of doubt that timber trade is increasingly becoming a lucrative venture. Each time one walks along the streets, one is bound to see one or two trucks carrying timber heading towards various destinations. It is not a 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 consequences 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.

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.

As the government therefore lifts the ban on timer re-export, we hope that those who are in the trade will recognise these facts in their struggle to maximise the business with sustainability. The Wood Export and Forest Users Association should also further step up efforts to put in place stringent measures to monitor its members and ensure that they operate on the basis of good practice. The forest is a principal determiner of our lives. We must therefore never contribute to its destruction.

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