Ecotourism as a mechanism to strengthen resilience in Tumani Tenda, Gambia
Ecotourism as a practice involves the regeneration of the environment through annual tree planting (especially during the rainy season), the promotion of alternative tourism and biodiversity conservation (Drame and Kiema, 2016). It has become a common practice for the Tumani Tenda community located in the west coast region of The Gambia since its creation in 1997. People in this area have adopted the ecotourism practice as a result of climate change, which has caused irregular rainfall for many years, leading inter alia to a decline in agricultural production, loss of vegetation and biodiversity (ibid.).
The ecotourism project activities include: annual tree planting, environmental monitoring to prevent systematic tree felling, hunting and bushfires, introduction of new plant and animal species, vegetable production and day-to-day management of the ecotourism camp. The main objectives of these activities are to: i) strengthen community resilience to climate change; and ii) improve food security and livelihoods for the people of Tumani Tenda through the development of a sustainable economy that enables
them to supplement the gains from agriculture.
Overall, the interventions were effective in strengthening community resilience, preserving and regenerating the environment, and strengthening social cohesion within the communities. The case constitutes a good practice as it is financially viable, replicable in similar contexts and provides sustainable development benefits.