Youth Empowerment for Forest Conservation

Protection of Western Area Peninsular Forest Reserve

The Western Area Peninsular  Forest has been endangered due to human activities which encompasses shifting cultivation, illegal logging, wood cutting, hunting, fire wood burning and settlement.

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The Western Area Peninsular Forest Reserve (WAPFOR) is part of the Freetown Peninsular, a narrow chain of undulating hills approximately 37 km long and 14 km wide, reaching a peak of 900 m. It is the only remaining patch of tropical rain forest along the coast of Sierra Leone. The vegetation is mostly a closed canopy, with lowland evergreen forest.

The Reserve is rich in biodiversity and is of international importance. It serves as habitat to globally threatened species including the endemic toad Cardioglossus aureolli and the white-breasted picarthetics. It is a gazetted reserve forest of Sierra Leone, yet it has been severely degraded due to encroachment for the construction of permanent settlements, shifting cultivation, illegal logging, hunting, wood cutting, charcoal burning and firewood harvesting.

Fuel wood collection and charcoal burning alone account for 50% and 47% respectively according to a research conducted in 2004 by the Conservation Society of Sierra Leone.

The social importance of the WAPFOR is significantly increased by the fact that its continued existence is vital for the protection of water catchments areas and the supply of clean pipe borne water for Freetown and its environs.

It is surrounded by rural communities whose economic and social activities are intimately tied to forest resources. But the non-regulatory manner in which these survival ventures are undertaken, threatens the survival of the fauna and flora the forest supports and lowers the potential other socio-ecological services it provides.

Green Scenery works with Community Based Youth Groups living in proximity to the forest. The community lives by the coast and depends on fishing for livelihood. Fish smoking accounts for large consumption of firewood, the bulk of which is obtained from the forest.

Activities Undertaken:

  • Nursery and silvicultural practices.

  • Capacity Building in organic manure production

  • Agro-forestry practice on 30 acres of land

  • Tree planting for alternative source of fire wood

  • Capacity Building in natural resource management

  • Training in project and financial management

  • Construction of bakery for production of bread as alternative source of income

Achievements:

The group produced at least USD 400-500 worth of bread every month. A farm of 600 cashew nut trees was set up and fast growing Acacia trees were planted. The group established a bank account.

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Duration: 2009-2013
Donor Partner: UNDP/Welthungerhilfe
Implementing Partner: Green Scenery

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Document Category: 
6 days 17 hours ago

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