News / Africa

Sierra Leone Working to Save Mangrove Ecosystem

People cutting mangroves for firewood in Sierra Leone
People cutting mangroves for firewood in Sierra Leone

Multimedia

Sierra Leone is working to preserve the ecosystem of coastal mangrove swamps that are threatened by people collecting firewood and harvesting salt.

Harvesting salt along the coast of West Africa is an age-old business. But today  conservationists say it is degrading mangrove swamps and ravaging fish stocks.

Lawmakers in Sierra Leone are preparing to join a seven-nation charter to protect the region's mangrove ecosystem which conservationists now say totals just 800,000 hectares.

Mangroves are the most readily available source of firewood for fires to boil seawater and what is called "salt dust" scraped from the soil.

Marie Kano heads Sierra Leone's salt producers' association. She says many of the mangrove trees used for fuel are already gone.

"We come here to scrape the salt and we collect the salt dust," she said. "But because there is no wood, we've left the salt business for other things. My children, my sister and my father lived with me and we all used to cook salt. But because there is no wood anymore, they all left and went to town."

Environmentalists are trying to encourage Sierra Leone's salt producers to use other methods, including drying salt in the sun, to reduce the strain on mangroves.

"If the mangroves disappear, fishing will be in crisis and the ecological balance will be disrupted," said Richard Dacosta, the West Africa coordinator for the development group Wetlands International. "Also the saltwater tide will invade river estuaries and coastal areas. And local communities, who usually live right on the coast, will have to move."

West Africa's mangrove forests absorb thousands of tons of carbon dioxide, and could be a way for the region to get a foothold in the $136 billion carbon world market.

They are the nurseries of the ocean, where many species of fish and shrimp breed and serve as a buffer against coastal erosion in a region where much of the population lives in low-lying areas.

You May Like

India PM Modi's party distances itself from religious conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote a Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid