25.05.2013 > Senegalese Association pour la Protection des Almadies Read more... ... >
15.05.2013 - 19.05.2013 > Climate change and the changes in the ecosystems of the Langue de Barbarie Read more... ... >
28.03.2013 > Radio talk with environmental experts Read more... ... >
16.05.2013 > Successful project fundraising Read more... ... >
05.05.2013 > COTOA first private sector partner to support the Ecoproject of the month Read more... ... >
01.05.2013 > Stop nylon fishing nets! Read more... ... >
Welcome to our Ecoblog! Here is the place where we exchange ideas or spotlight green events that have come to our attention. Your comments or articles are welcome!
Extract from the book « Le Livre des Imraguen, Pêcheurs du Banc d’Arguin en Mauritanie » by Marie-Laure de Noray-Dardenne, Editions Buchet et Chastel.
Fishing days may follow one after the other, but they are hardly all alike. This is what Mohamaden, Captain of his lanche, repeats looking at the meager returns of this day. A quick landing with nothing to report for the raps of the evening. A few rays and a dozen baby sharks accidentally caught in nets. What can be done with them? Imraguen do not eat sharks or rays, and the days when they once represented a prosperous trade are now only a distant memory, due to the ban on shark fishing. Rays and sharks are now destined for the few Ghanaian and Malian ouguiyas on the lookout, who will spill them into their brine tanks dug on the beach, the ammonia smell infecting the whole village ...
Mohamaden and his crew had started out early this morning aiming to bring back croakers. This being the season, the captain was almost sure the channels he had chosen were fish filled. His nets were placed and today he came to pull them. Two hours sailing brought him to the remote location of the first net, but it promised to be worth it, they said. Yet, apparently the croakers had declined the invitation, preferring to travel still further away, pass this route some other tomorrow or maybe never.
He knows it is best to forget quickly the mighty efforts made for so little gain: early risings, assembling the other four crew members, checking the threads of the net, verifying fresh water, food. Was there enough tea made, had mint been thought of? And had the radio been taken? The lanche must be pushed, the sails tended to, eye navigation, landmarks located, nets placed by other avoided; he searched for his own. Ancient art meeting habit, the vivacity and harmony of movement. Launch the anchor at the right time, right place. Synchronize the efforts of one and another, speaking the right words necessary, launch the "ho .... Hoisted! " of collective momentum that might raise tens of square meters of waterlogged nets onto the lanche. But neither effort, nor the years of experience and know-how is enough; it is also about luck, baraka. This is the fate of any fisherman. Accepting today as it is earned. This night, we will eat the fish caught by another, but tomorrow, Inshallah, we will feed the whole village.
Yet there is also the thought of the seagulls overhead, the merriment of the crew, shared sips of tea at sea, this solid lanche as it splits water. Cool breeze and warm sun. Dolphins happily seen from far, rarer than ever, their presence to man always friendly, a boon.
At first glance, Senegal seems to be mostly stretches of seaside coasts and arid Sahel interiors with little or no rainfall. And yet, forests, steppes, reserves and wooded savanna cover 32% of its territory! Did you know, for example, that Senegal has over 200 classified forests?
In Ferlo, in eastern Senegal, in the Sine Saloum and in Casamance, Senegal’s greatest majority of wooded savannas and forests can be found. Because they play such a major role in social, economic and cultural life, forests are cited for numerous reforestation and protection projects. In actuality however, the rate of annual deforestation for firewood is two times higher than the rate of reforestation...
It’s then to preserve the wood, vegetation and biodiversity that 213 forests have been classified (approximately 624,800 hectares) by the Senegalese government. Classifying forests offers a legal framework to restrain clearing and exploitation of forest products, while emphasizing reforestation and preventing soil erosion. This classification also allows for the protection of ‘green lungs’ and the development of economic activity like eco-tourism.
Despite such efforts, most classified forests don’t escape degradation and deforestation, due to natural factors like drought or salinization but also human activity. Thanks to your donation, Augustin’s project of a natural fencing can make real and more efficient the drive to protect forests from overgrazing and firewood!
Germany is a land of forests. A third of this densely populated industrial country is covered by woodland. There is 11.1 million hectares or almost 43,000 square miles of it – an area that has remained constant since the beginning of the 16th century. Hard to believe? Just list the most famous and largest German forests and the figure immediately becomes plausible. Density populated urban and industrial regions are interspersed with great islands of green, whether it be the Black Forest or the Harz, the Fichtel Mountain Range, the Thuringian or Palatinate Forest. The largest continuously forested area in Central Europe is the Bavarian Forest, which furthermore links up with the Bohemian Forest in the Czech Republic. This is also where you will find Germany’s largest national park, covering an area of over 12,000 hectares (46 square miles). It too merges with the Czech national park across the common border. Together they form the largest forest reserve in Central Europe.
At least 60 percent of German forests are covered by conifers, particularly spruce and pine. But among the deciduous trees it is not the once so highly praised “German oak” that holds first place, but the beech. Extensive beech forests, where the sunlight plays between the smooth, silver-grey trunks, are among Ger¬many’s most beautiful landscapes. In the spring of 2011, UNESCO awarded World Natural Heritage status to five near-natural German beech forests full of gigantic old trees. These forests cover approx. 4,400 hectares (17 square miles). One of them is the 600-hectare (2.3-square-mile) Grumsin Forest in the Schorfheide-Chorin Biosphere Reserve just an hour’s drive north of Berlin in the south of the rural district of Uckermark. Visiting the Grumsin Forest is almost like time travel: you really notice that the Ice Age has left its mark here as you hike through a craggy terrain of hills and hollows. It could hardly have been better protected from clearance over the centuries, with bogs, ponds and lakes between the trees – a natural monument of wood and water. But it is not so pleasant for humans here all year round: mosquitoes attack the wayfarer as if to make sure that the reserve’s recent UNESCO fame doesn’t attract too many visitors.
Dakar, June 9th 2012, the Conference of West African Fishery Ministers (Commission Sous Régionale des Pêches, CSRP) just finished its 13th session. The Ministers decided to include the artisanal fishery into the Praia convention aiming for a sustainable fishery management. This is more than necessary. Until recently, only industrial fishery was seen as devastating to the fishery resources. The artisanal fishery was seen as “ancestral method of fishing” and per definition (or tradition) as sustainable. But since the migratory fishery resources, alike the sardinella (« yaboye » en wolof), becoming rare, the mid set starts to change …
Saint Louis 26-28 mai 2012, the season of sardinellas’ catch is at its pick. Trucks are queuing at the shore where artisanal fisher boats (pirogues) are queuing to disembark the yesterday night’s catch of sardinellas. Fish is first disembarked on the beach, and then put into buckets, made of dried leaves, covered with ice and then loaded to the trucks, which bring the fresh fish to the markets in the capital city of Dakar and to the cities up country. All this process is artisanal and manual. Because of its high protein provision, fish ranks high in consumption basket of West African populations, especially the poor.
Therefore and because of “ancestral manual methods” one would think that the scare fishery resources are being treated carefully. Unfortunately not: Once the trucks and the boats left the sea shore reminds of a “day after” some kind of a fish catastrophe or disease.
The pictures are shocking. It’s clear more than ever; we need to stop this kind of natural resources’ degradation. We need to deal with the challenges bottom up and support local sustainable fishing initiatives. Already a small effort can have a big positive impact. Ecofund will boost your efforts.
Soon, we will launch our Ecoforum, which will give you the voice to alert, debate and together to find solutions for a sustainable artisanal fishing. Join us now and post your impressions, experiences and ideas on our Ecoblog and our Facebook, for our green future!
One year already !
Ecofund is one year old! It seems like only yesterday that we were launching our very first ecoproject with our champion Augustin … And here we are, one year later, a vibrant community of over 500 people which is not only constantly growing, but also has the power to make a real impact - such as saving a beautiful littoral forest (64 football fields !) in Senegal!
It's wonderful to be able to celebrate this success with you: after all, if it wasn't for your support - your Facebook comments, your tweets, your contributions to Ecoblog, not to mention the generous donations from our 67 donors - Ecofund would not be what it is today!
Recently artists like Marianna Ramos, Didier Awadi and Ousmane Mbaye have decided to join us on this adventure - together we are going to continue to identify new local champions and do all we can to boost their efforts for our green future.
Keep up the good work - spread the word, cheer our champions, support their projects, get involved in social media – and let's make sure we can celebrate many more birthdays together!
Happy Birthday Ecofunders!!
Sandrine, Marianne, Markus, Assane
and the rest of the Ecofund Team