we are a carbon neutral organisation
Tourism is vitally important to the economy of The Gambia. Eco-tourism provides the main driver for conservation efforts in the country and helps Gambians look after their wildlife. However, tourism has some negative aspects, the most important of these being the carbon dioxide generated by the flights that bring people to The Gambia. This contributes to climate change – the most significant threat ever to face humankind and the biggest threat facing the environment today.
Our guests and staff make major contributions to the conservation of Gambian wildlife, but we must also be aware of our activities' global implications. For that reason, from 2021, we will make all of our trips carbon-neutral by planting trees that will capture the equivalent mass of carbon generated by every flight – guests and staff alike. For other visitors to The Gambia, we would like to offer them the chance to offset their carbon footprint by joining our scheme. Over the next 10 years, we aim to plant 10,000 trees in The Gambia. This will include trees in existing forests to increase their value and stability as well as new areas where we will kick start new forest areas throughout the country.
how will it work?
The biggest problem facing trees in The Gambia is illegal and legal felling. To offset carbon emissions, we need to ensure that any trees we plant will survive in perpetuity. To achieve this, we have a strict set of criteria, including staged payments to the community, independent monitoring, and a legally-binding mechanism to ensure the trees' survival.
The trees will be grown in dedicated nurseries managed by our Gambian partners including the West African Bird Study Association (WABSA) who will recruit locals to grow and eventually plant the trees in each location. Nurseries and trees will be provided to communities that are happy to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) agreeing to the following programme; all trees will be monitored by Project Wild Gambia annually for the first 5 years post-planting (this is facilitated by recording the planting location using GPS and marking of each tree using standard forestry metal tags). Any trees lost in this time to disease, grazing animals, or other natural reasons, will be replaced by Project Wild Gambia.
Responsibility for trees over 5 years post-planting will transfer to the community who will ensure their protection. This transfer will include a one-off payment to the community for each tree. Larger trees will be monitored using satellite imagery.
After a length of time (depending on each tree and agreed at the time of planting – for example, rosewood would be 20-25 years) the community can harvest the tree on the condition that they replace it with a sapling of the same species and that this tree we re-start the cycle i.e. it will be protected until it reaches the agreed age for the initial tree and then replaced again ad infinitum.
The carbon dioxide generated by each flight will be offset to benefit the people and wildlife of The Gambia.
Degraded forests (e.g. Sifoe/Kiti) will be restored to prime condition.
Existing forests will be enhanced by the addition of key native species, e.g. grey plum and mahogany.
New forest areas will be created.
Rural communities will directly benefit from the income generated.
Rural communities will indirectly benefit from eco-tourism income and the use of non-timber forest resources.
Records of germination rates, growth rates, etc. will be recorded and analysed, allowing “best practice” guidelines to be shared throughout the region.
CO² emission calculators are widely available online and using the standard method; we calculate the mass of CO² for each flight. Using this, we allocate the appropriate number of trees to offset that mass. For trees that are to be harvested, we use an estimate of the mass at half the harvesting age as this will be the average amount of carbon stored in the tree at any one time.
Costs for guests will be included in the published fee for each visit.
Carbon-offsetting for people not involved in a Project Wild Gambia activity costs £30 for a return flight from the UK. We can calculate the relevant fee for other origins on request.
Please note – Project Wild Gambia does not keep any of the money from this scheme*. All of the money is used directly in support of the scheme and is paid directly to individuals and organisations who contribute to the scheme's implementation.
*As Project Wild Gambia is a company registered in the UK, all payments must be made to our UK account to allow full transparency and legal compliance.