Cameroon Allows Logging in Forest That’s Home to Gorillas

Bloomberg | Cameroon defended a decision to allow logging in part of a forest that’s home to lowland gorillas and chimpanzees after environmental groups said the government may have signed a death sentence for the critically endangered primates.

The government in a July 14 decree declared almost half the Ebo Forest a so-called Forest Management Unit, opening it up for logging, following years of efforts from conservationists to secure the forest’s protection. The forest was designated in 2006 as a proposed National Park but the government never signed the decree.

Logging is a big industry in Cameroon, which ranks among the world’s largest exporters of tropical timber by volume, the International Institute for Environment and Development said in a report last year. While most timber historically went to Europe, increased Chinese investment in infrastructure projects, many of them in forest areas, means China is now Cameroon’s biggest buyer.

The 141,706-hectare (350,163-acre) Ebo Forest is rich in biodiversity, with elephants, gray parrots and a unique population of tool-wielding chimpanzees among its fauna. Both the World Wildlife Foundation and the Wildlife Conservation Society have used it for research, and its gorilla population was only discovered in 2002. It holds an estimated 35 million tons of carbon.

Most-Threatened Chimpanzees

The local population opposed the government plan to open up the forest for logging, citing ancestral ownership and describing it as land grabbing, Minister of Forestry and Wildlife, Jules Doret Ndongo, said in an interview. But the government decided to no longer entertain the drawn-out dispute over whether the forest should be protected, he said.

Cameroon has “enough” protected areas and the decree doesn’t mean that all trees will be cut down, Ndongo said. “The United Nations obliges countries to keep at least 12% of their national territory as protected areas; Cameroon is already at 30%,” he said.

While all types of chimpanzees are classified as endangered, the Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee subspecies is considered to be the most threatened, with only between 3,500 and 9,000 of the animals left in the wild. About 700 live in Ebo Forest.

Greenpeace said in a statement that the decree “blatantly ignores requests by local communities and international organizations to honor the 2006 decision.” Information obtained by Greenpeace Africa suggests that a company controlled by the same people who are associated with a new oil-palm venture in a different region may benefit from the forest concession, it said.

“The Cameroon government again chooses short-term financial gains for selected elites over the long-term interests of local communities and the protection of the environment,” Greenpeace campaigner Sylvie Djacbou said.

‘Selective Logging’

Cameroon has about 20 million hectares of forest and 103 Forest Management Units, 68 of which are operational. Almost 4 million hectares are designated as parks or reserves.

“Logging is done selectively and is more sustainable than mining, for instance,” Ndongo said. The creation of the FMU for Ebo Forest is aimed at “reconciling conservation and socioeconomic stakes, at a time when production industries are experiencing unrivaled challenges,” he said.

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10 comments

  1. Despite all the natural wealth endowed this country, management of these resources have been abysmal. Where does all the money go? When you make money you spend a little, save some, and invest some for more money. Every prudent family does that. For lrc, it s no. Spend, borrow, don’t pay your bills, sell out your resources, let foreigners come exploit your citizens for champagne and red wine. Importing fish, importing rice importing palm oil, importing petrol, importing motorcycles, importing toothbrush etc forgot some beer is made in lrc. Poor animals on the table for more foreign currency to pay for imports. What will they leave for their children? Go overseas to see a monkey in a cage?

    • FAI FONSO,,,, all what you have said is true. But what if we look at those imports like opportunities,channeling our investments to its production and commercialisation? We do not need younde to farm fish, rice,or even prpducing toothbrushes whoes raw materials we have.i am intimately convinced base on careful observation that we made a mistake to think that university graduates with no technical and scientific training will take us through economic transformation. they have no experience, do not understand the perversity of how capitalism operates. Without this, it is impossible to craft a long-term rational economic transformation strategy to be implemented and modefied through time.

  2. Everything has crumbled in that country, with a huge debt to repay and a dumb
    war declared by a moroon to run. The country, is run in a rub this sector and pay
    that sector and then rob the other. Since the people have refused to push out Biya
    / his rogue regime, some day not too long, everyone, will either be asked to leave
    that country because donors have owned it or anyone who elects to remain, becomes
    a slave for 99 years and counting.
    All stolen monies Biya and cronies have aboad, will be treated, like that of Sani Abacha.
    This is what happens, to a people who don`t understand the meanings of `peace and
    happiness`. Some are dreaming, thinking Biya, still can give them peace / happiness.
    So sad.

    • @Joshua what amazes me is not biya himself but the low life’s that still support this evil man. @Bah Achu how do you expect people to invest , think appropriately and manufacture out of their natural resources when there’s no peace , hunger and some being treated like 2nd class citizens.

      • @Cavani, they have sold their consciences to the devil. Only real force,
        is necessary to fix the situation. But this is absent, because tribalism,
        had been ingrained in their mentalilities. Close to sixty years, is not
        small.

        • Joshua you are the lead tribalist. tonnes and tonnes of evidences keep pouring out every day how Sako Ikome and his remote control handler Christopher Anu Fobenneh have collected money from CPDM to sell our struggle but you keep going after the Bamenda man Ayaba Cho Lucas that you hate so much and other Graffis. The problem in our revolution starts with impostors like you and I can assure you, there will be no place for your manipulations in Ambazonia. Those who fight today will lead tomorrow. This is a solemn promise we will defend with our blood. The Capital MUST be moved from Buea because of their laziness and unwillingness to defend it. Gurantee!!

  3. CAVANI,,,,, how then does the Chinese who travel 3000 kilometers to our villages, grow cassava, transform to muyondo, etc export and sell to shameless diasporans in paris, london, and maryland operate? Sometimes they do not even know the name of the president of Cameroon and speak only thier own languages. Yet they identify a market niche, produce, transform, commercialise and harvest money while we complain about bad treatment, bad roads etc. So mvondo biya is blocking my brain from thinking? If that is the case why don’t we see diasporans living in the illusory aryan paradise of France, England, america and Canada become captains of industry? Why are they all salaried workers,whose occupation is to generate wealth for others? Worste heavily indepted for 10 20 years through mortgages?

    • Bah acho @Europe is not friendly to immigrants being captains of industry even if they are European internal immigrants (Spanish to Germany or a German to Holland )and specifically not citizens.qualifications aren’t recognised ,bankers limit credit and in certain fields non Europeans have to employ rival companies that are owned by citizens for permits and paperwork they can’t get ,skimming off your profits.
      moving to another country within the EU they don’t recognise your no claims on your car insurance and put you in the highest paying category again ! Even cross border VAT is a joke .Not having dual nationality is a real disintegration of your time outside of Cameroon ,if you want to be a captain of any industry big or small and don’t worry they all started off small.

  4. @l`enemy, you just leaked out the truth to support me. The next fight, will
    be with the tribalist graffis, to carry the capital to Bamenda. It is known already
    and it scares some people, until they are siding with the Bulus. Even with a long
    spoon, no one, should joke foolishly with the graffis.

    • Of course @joshua, side with the Bulus, collect bribe and spill our blood. But when this fight is over, the cleansing fight will steady the ship weather you like it or not. Hope you and your corrupt noise making ladybirds can stand the hardened Graffis Who are holding every front from Ekona through Tiko Mutengene Muyuka Mayemen Ekumbe Tombel all the way down to Tinto and Mamfe in open battle. Idiot. Isn’t your jealousy the reason you nitwits introduced the tribalistic county by county? You big Nose noise making mouth and your kind are no match for Graffi warriors. We defeated the Igbos and Makizas yesterday, we will beat the Bamileke-Bassa-Bulu-Hausa today and run over your passing mouth tomorrow. Hardened for battle!

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