The Community tree planting scheme is an exclusive project for Serenity Holidays customers. The aim of the project is to not only to provide carbon savings through the planting of indigenous trees in The Gambia, but also to have wider sustainable benefits especially in relation to the local communities.
Started in 2007, over 20,000 trees were planted in five project areas, Aboku Nature Reserve, Sifoe, Pirang, Gunjur and Kartong. In the summer 2013, a further 12,000 trees were planted in Abuko National Forest and the villages of Jenun Kunda, Sinchu, Giboro and Duwasu. The latest project took place in 2023 through collaboration with the organisation CAPED.
The trees are grown from transplants of indigenous trees collected as seedlings by our experienced forester Lamin Kinteh and then protected/nurtured by the local communities. Each project area helps to reforest areas which may have been affected by deforestation or over grazing in the past, as well as helping to offset carbon emissions from our customer’s flights. In most cases, they also offer community benefits to the locals who protect them. Many of the trees are specially planted to yield a crop or produce pollen to encourage bees which in turn make honey. The honey is used for food, health, medicine and beauty products offering locals an income from its sale.
Over the next 20 years, all trees will be protected through management agreements signed by the Alkalo (village head) on behalf of each community. Our experienced forester, Lamin Kinteh, will also help with maintenance and replacement of any trees damaged or lost over this period.
The carbon offset of this time will be equivalent to a minimum of 11,000 tonnes which equates to the CO2 created by around 10,000 return flights from the UK to The Gambia.
When TICOS originally set the project up in 2007 a tree planting festival was organised by Sifo Kafo Farm, one of the three sites, to mark the occasion with Mandinka drumming and dancing. 3,000 gmalina, cashew and other trees were planted in two farms belonging to the Sifo Kafo Farms. The Iman blessed the trees and all the village elders gave their full support. The whole village community attended and took part in a symbolic planting ceremony and there was a sense of pride and determination to see these trees grow to maturity.
The photographs (link) show a planting ceremony in Sifo attended by us, TICOS and the Travel Foundation and supported by the whole village. The village elders all planted a tree and TICOS also contributed to the event by planting 50 trees to help to offset recent staff flights.
We are delighted to have a partnership with the conservation organisation CAPED Gambia (Community Action Platform on Environment and Development). During 2023, this project supported the planting of more than 7,000 highly endangered indigenous fruit and nut species in the rural village of Sintet. The aim for this project is to make a substantial impact on the environment and food security, as well as entrepreneurship among the region's vulnerable communities.
We have a long-standing partnership with the organisation and have previously provided funding to support mangrove restoration of over 37 acres of degraded wetland in the villages of Kalimu and Soma.
Karen Durham, Product Manager for The Gambia Experience "Our successful partnership exemplifies our shared commitment to conservation and giving back to the Gambian community, and we are delighted to support this project."