Lamin F. Janneh is a man with a calm and thoughtful demeanor. L.J. recently retired from the retired from the International Trypanotolerance Center (ITC), now renamed West Africa Livestock Innovation Center (WALIC) to focus on forest conservation, which he became passionate about through personal experience when his family's land was at risk of being divided up. He managed to convince his family members to protect the forest, which is now under the custody of the Janneh-Koto Foundation.
Nyamina Forest is culturally significant as it was used as a post for the last King of the Kombos, Kombo Sillah, during battles with Brikama and the British colonizing forces in the mid-1800s. It was also known to be full of djinns who protected Kombo Sillah's army and helped them to defeat the king in Brikama. The forest is now a beautiful example of Gambian forest with impressive biodiversity.
The Janneh-Koto Foundation aims to create income-generating activities through sustainable development of the forest as an ecotourism site. Plans include a walkway, observation tower, hides, round huts for visitors, and a permaculture garden and food forest. The Foundation is working hard to establish the sustainability of the venture and is seeking partnerships with different organizations, government departments, and concerned individuals. Over 7,000 seedlings have been planted, and a fire belt has been created to protect the forest. The Foundation has also partnered with other Community Based Organizations involved in the restoration of the ecosystem.
Nyamina Forest contains many endangered species of flora and fauna, including the Temmincks Red Colobus monkey. Visitors may also see antelope, birds, flowers, and trees. A pond in the forest is constantly kept filled to provide water for wildlife. The Foundation is also involved in activities such as beekeeping, soap making, and more.