Sustainable forest management in Southeast Cameroon | WWF

Sustainable forest management in Southeast Cameroon

Posted on 28 August 2008    
View of forest area in East Cameroon
© Jengi
Since 2002, WWF alongside local and other international NGOs have been working with logging companies, local communities and Cameroon’s Ministry of Forest and Wildlife to ensure sustainable forest management SFM. In this light, WWF has been accompanying logging companies engaged in Forest Stewardship Council, FSC, Certification process and working with local communities to set up community forest enterprises.

The forest is divided into permanent (77%) and non-permanent (23%) forest domains.
The permanent forest domain is forest lands that are used solely for forestry and or as a wildlife habitat. The non permanent forest domain is forest land that can be given out for other activities rather than timber exploitation.

Permanent forest domain

WWF project invests about US$100,000 per year that includes staff time to support sustainable forest management and certification initiatives of logging companies operating in Southeast Cameroon.

WWF provides technical assistance through activities such as training, wildlife inventories, GIS and monitoring.

The project carries out preliminary studies on certification and monitors socio-economic and ecological impact of forest exploitation.

WWF prods the establishment of forest management units within logging companies.

Helps build capacities of forest technicians on low-impact exploitation techniques.

Logging Concessions
There are 23 logging concessions covering 1,558879ha and accounting for 48% of the total area. Nine logging companies are exploiting the concessions.
Amongst the logging companies, five are run by Cameroonians, two by Italians, one by Belgians and one jointly by French and Chinese. These companies operate nine sawmills.
Companies engaged in FSC Certification
Two logging companies (SEFAC and Group Decolvenaere) are engaged in Forest Stewardship Council, FSC Certification covering some 529600 ha.
Statistics from SEFAC Company indicate additional Euros150 per cubic metre is generated as profit from certified wood. The company’s field manager indicates wood demand from Western markets, especially FSC wood, has tripled since the company obtained the certificate.
So far, four logging concessions of Group SEFAC, amounting to 314655ha, have been certified given a percentage of 33.9% in the region. Three other companies: SFCS, ALPICAM and VICWOOD/Thanry exploiting 10 logging concessions, covering 756330ha are in the Certification process.

Importance of certified wood
Certification seeks to ensure that forests are exploited under acceptable socio-economic and ecological conditions. Companies seeking certification must undertake to protect sensitive wildlife corridors, contribute in the fight against poaching, protect water catchments, rivers, streams and marshy areas within the concession they are logging, all in a bid to ensure sustainable forest exploitation.
The company must make determined efforts to improve living conditions of its workers, with regards to health care, sanitation, housing, education and other social aminities. It must recognise and protect the rights of minorities like Baka pygmies. FSC certified wood is thus wood exploited in respect to nature and human beings.

WWF target for 2011
By 2011 WWF hopes some 1070985ha (68.7%) of forest concessions under exploitation would have been certified.

Non-permanent forest domain
This is unclassified forest on non-permanent forest land that comprises communal forests, community forests and forest belonging to private individuals.
This forest can be attributed for other uses order than timber extraction.

Community Forest
Portion of forest in the non-permanent state forest which is object of a management agreement between a village community and the service in charge of forestry. Community forest comprises 5000 ha of forest portions managed by village communities, with technical assistance of the services in charge of forestry, for a period of 25 years renewable.

WWF support to community forest initiatives
WWF is giving technical support in the form of training, elaboration of management plans, inventories etc, to 21 (105000ha) community forest enterprises, covering 23 villages with a population of 21178 people.
10 community forests have been attributed to local communities; five are already under exploitation while 11 are still in the process of being attributed.

Target for 2011
WWF hopes 20 community forest enterprises shall be fully operational on a surface area of 100,000ha by 2011.

With a network of mangers of community forest in the Southeast Province put in place WWF envisages assisting community forest obtain group certification. However, this could only be achieved after some of the community forest would have gone fully operational.

Socio-economic benefits of community forests
The proceeds generated by community forests enterprises are used to finance micro projects in local communities. Communities so far make about US$10,000 per year from the two forest units currently operational? The project is investing in form of technical assistance some US$50,000 annually to promote community forestry.
Following have been achieved with proceeds from community forests under exploitation:
Construction of classrooms
Scholarships to pupils and students
Constructions and maintenance of water points
Purchase of didactic materials for schools

Key definitions

Permanent forest domain
These are forest lands that are used solely for forestry and or as a wildlife habitat. It comprises state forest and council forest and covers at least 30% of the total area of the national territory.

Logging contract
An exploitation contract that confers on a forest exploiter the right to extract from a forest concession, a specific volume of timber to supply his local industry/industries for processing in the long term. The contract is renewable after 15 years and is evaluated every three years.

Forest concession
A forest area where timber is exploited. A concession could comprise several forest management units (UFA)

Sale by standing volume
An authorisation to exploit a precise volume of timber in a surface area of forest not more than 2500 hectares. The attribution of such forest is subject to the opinion of a competent commission for a period of three years renewable

Personal authorisation
An authorisation given to an individual to extract not more than 30 metre cube of timber for personal and non-profit use

View of forest area in East Cameroon
© Jengi Enlarge
© Jengi Enlarge

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