As degradation threatens Sierra Leone’s forest… Campaign groups vow to call out culprits

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By Alfred Koroma

It’s over three decades since National Tree Planting exercise was initiated in Sierra Leone, yet there is nothing to show out of it, a Campaign group, Act On Climate Change Today (ACCT) has said in a press statement signed by more than ten other organizations.

  “National Tree Planting exercise is here again, after it was initiated in the 1990s…,” the press release reads. “Sad to say that it is now more than a decade of tree planting and pageantry speeches from high state authorities with nothing to show for it.”

Rather, the nation’s forests are being butchered with careless abandonment. The 18,000 hectares Western Area Peninsula National Park has been subjected to every form of degradation because of land grabbing for settlement in the national park, deforestation for diamba farms, for mining of granite to produce largescale slabs, and for logging and charcoal production, ACCT said.

The group is appealing to the public to help monitor the country’s heritage, warning it will publicly start calling out those engaged in ‘unnecessary’ depletion of the national protected area for reasons that are against the laws of Sierra Leone.

Since 2021 to 2024, more than a quarter of the Western Area National Park has lost its forest, amounting to 4,695 ha.  And a four-month follow up assessment (December 2023 to March 2024) by WFP, further reveals a harrowing 550 ha of forest cover being lost, according to ACCT press statement.

The group also highlighted the situation of water in the country, particularly the Western Area.

“Water, like most natural resources, is a security commodity and fresh water is even more securitized. Its scarcity or unavailability is bound to raise red-line security, and the water situation in Freetown is fast becoming critical,” Joseph Rahall, executive director of Green Scenery is quoted saying in the press statement.

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