SENEGAL: Quarry project threatens Néma Ba Nature Reserve

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SENEGAL: Quarry project threatens Néma Ba Nature Reserve©Sergey Bezgodov/Shutterstock

The Néma Ba community forest in western Senegal is in danger of being destroyed. The government has just authorised a laterite quarry planned for over 40 hectares. Fearing the impact of this project on the reserve's forest cover, the Fagaru Centre is asking the government to reverse its decision.

The Nema Ba Community Nature Reserve (CNR) is at risk of losing at least 50% of its area. The protected area, which covers about 100 hectares in the Fatick region of western Senegal, is the target of an industrial laterite mining project. The 40-hectare project has just been authorised by the Senegalese government, much to the dismay of nature conservationists.

Birame Diouf, the founder of the Fagaru centre, was quick to speak out. He, whose centre is next to the Néma Ba RNC, sees this quarry project as a danger to biodiversity. “A community nature reserve is a biodiversity conservation mechanism. Its status gives it legal protection. How and why is it then possible to authorise laterite exploitation on more than 40 hectares? Yet the classification decree for this protected area is still in force,” asks Birame Diouf in his open letter to the Senegalese Minister of the Environment. According to Diouf, another logger has also obtained permission to destroy 4 hectares of the Néma Ba community nature reserve.

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The Néma Ba reserve, together with the Sangako community forest, the Djilor community forest, the Keur Sambel forest, the Palmarin RNC, and the Fagaru centre (covering 30 hectares), constitute the last six forest bastions in the Fatick region. These reserves were mainly established by local populations on the periphery of the Saloum Delta National Park (SDNP) with the support of the Integrated Ecosystem Management Project in four representative landscapes of Senegal (PGIES).

These RNCs aim to facilitate the conservation of the SDNP by promoting the sustainable development of its periphery.

Boris Ngounou

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