The estuary of the Casamance river was once home to an abundance of mangroves – tropical trees and shrubs that thrive in salty, tidal waters.
Villages here rely on the mangroves to protect them from storms and to support agriculture, fishing and the harvesting of shellfish. In the 1970s, the area was blighted by drought. People started using the mangroves for firewood, which fed a vicious cycle of deforestation and poverty.
Our project here is expected to form part of the largest carbon-certified mangrove project in the world, together with a similar project in the more northerly Sine-Saloum delta.
Why and how we're working here
The delta was seriously affected by a drought from 1968 to 1994, which killed the mangroves in the higher parts of the mudflats. The mangroves were also chopped down for their wood, which is used for construction, firewood and charcoal for fish smoking and cooking. Without the mangroves, the coastal communities are vulnerable to the loss of income from shellfish harvests, as well as to the destruction caused by storms.
The project's impact on
The project aims to build local capacity to hand management of the reserve over to the communities. A livelihood plan will alleviate the pressure on the forest resources by providing alternative sources of income from activities such as sustainable agriculture, agroforestry and beekeeping.