1. Paradise on Earth!
Beautiful beaches and coconut trees, rivers and luxurious bolongs, swaying palm trees and lush mangroves... All this in a tropical forest! Among the most common species of trees found are the enormous silk cotton trees (commonly called fromagiers), baobabs, cashew, teak, coconut and mangroves.
2. Hospital and Home!
Palm trees offer oil and palm wine. Kinkeliba is a tree whose leaves heal wounds and when ground reduces malaria attacks. These trees are also habitat and mating sites for an important variety of migrant birds and mammals including buffalo, manatees and monkeys.
3. Holy Woods!
Forests are often ritual sites since nature is sacred for the Diola and they are charged with its protection. Rites such as circumcision and rites of passage into adulthood all take place within the forest. During these initiation children learn traditional values, mores and codes of village life, and songs. The best protected forests are thus these sacred woods where campfires are prohibited and access is reserved solely to the initiated.
4. Help! Forests in Danger!
Despite efforts made to preserve forests like The National Park of Lower Casamance, the protected forest of Dianteme and now Augustin’s Ecopark, Casamance’s forests are still threatened by unfettered and mostly illegal wood exploitation. Because economic, cultural and social life is so intricately tied to these forests and rivers, prevent the degradation of natural resources also helps to prevent and conflict tied to access to this most important resources.
It’s up to us to act! Help Augustin!