Exploitation of Forests, Cameroon

Since '50s, unsustainable logging industry in Cameroon threatens the rainforest biodiversity and the indigenous communities survival.


Description

Timber exploitation in Cameroon was begun by German colonizers, and grew rapidly after the Second World War. In the 1990s timber export reached its peak. In 2002 annual production was around 2 million cubic metres over a surface area of some 300,000 hectares. The average price of the timber fluctuated around 150 per cubic metre, and was destined for the luxury goods market due to its high quality. The weakness of State controls on the timber trade meant that exporting was problem free. If from the start of the 1900s deforestation was totally unchecked, and was interested only in felling as many trees in the least time possible, today the exploitation of forests is targeting only the most expensive. Six varieties account for nearly 80 percent of timber exploitation: The Ayous (Triplochition scleroxylon), Sapele or Sapelli (Entandrophragma cylindricum), Azob (Lophira alata), Limba or yellow pine (Terminalia superba), Tali (Erythrophleum ivorense) and Iroko (Chlorophora spp.). Another particularly exploited species for its economic value is the Moabi (Baillonella toxisperma), which is a vitally important tree to women forest dwellers due to its versatility in providing medicines, and other subsistence goods. It is also a sacred tree.

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Basic Data
NameExploitation of Forests, Cameroon
CountryCameroon
Accuracy of LocationLOW country/state level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Deforestation
Logging and non timber extraction
Specific CommoditiesLand
Timber
Biological resources
Project Details and Actors
Type of PopulationRural
Start Date1950
Company Names or State EnterprisesPatrice Bois from Italy
Wijma
Fipcam from Italy
Thanry/Vicwood from China
Pasquet from France
Rougier from France
Pallisco from Cameroon
Relevant government actorsGovernment of Cameroon, MINEF: Ministry of Environment and Forestry of Cameroon, European Union, French Government
International and Financial InstitutionsThe World Bank (WB) from United States of America
International Monetary Fund (FMI)
Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersFriends of the Earth (Cameroon), Greenpeace - Belgium & International, Planet Survey - Camroon, Centre for Environment and Development (CED) - Cameroon
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)UNKNOWN
When did the mobilization beginUNKNOWN
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Landless peasants
Women
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Street protest/marches
Property damage/arson
2003: The residents of Klampeing move their residencies to the three neighbouring villages of Eden, Andoo and Assadam, with the goal of creating a forest community with the official title of ICM COBA (Assimilated Community of Badjou and other interest groups)
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Food insecurity (crop damage), Soil contamination, Soil erosion
Health ImpactsPotential: Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..) , Occupational disease and accidents
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Specific impacts on women
Outcome
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCorruption
Migration/displacement
New legislation
Violent targeting of activists
Application of existing regulations
January 2002: The Forest Ministry (MINEF) accuses the company Patrice Bois of unauthorised timber exploitation, and subjects them to a fine of 10 million CFA Francs (15,000 Euros).
January 2003: The Forestry Ministry (MINEF) once again fines the company Patrice Bois, this time it is 50 million CFA Francs (75,000 Euros), for complicity in unauthorised exploitation of the forests. However, due to procedural errors by the Ministry the charge is altered and only a small fine is made. The company are still condemned for breach of forest law.
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.On paper, the State owns the forests, but the sovereignty it exercises on the exploitation of timber is in many ways limited by the influence of multinational companies. The national government wants to attract more and more private foreign investment at all costs, even if is basically illegal. This framework allows corporations to disregard the environmental and social standards, particularly with regard to contracts, and the extent and location of concessions. The States monitoring and decision making capability is limited both by the endemic corruption, and internal political policies that have led to a drastic reduction in staff and their salaries.
Sources and Materials
References

Forestry and Communities in Camerooon, CEECEC Case-study, 2010
[click to view]

Africa, forest under threat, World Rainforest Movement. 2002.
[click to view]

Gerber J.F., Resistance contre deux geants industriels en foret tropicale, populations locales versus plantations commerciales d'hévéas et de palmiers a huile dans le Sud Cameroun, Mouvement Mondial pour les Forets Tropicales, 2008.
[click to view]

Auzel, P., Fomete, T., Odi, J., Owada, J.-C. 2002. Evolution de l'exploitation des forets du Cameroun: production nationale, exploitation illegale, perspectives, Presentation reunion DFID, MINEF, Banque Mondiale et FMI, 2002, Yaounde.

Global Witness : Independent Forest Monitoring (IFM), 2000-2005
[click to view]

Links

Illegal logging in Cameroon, F. Verbelen, Greenpeace, Belgium, March 2000
[click to view]

Rapport d'Analyse des données du SIGIF de l’exercice 2002/2003
[click to view]

Illegal logging in Cameroon: How French Government action is fuelling rainforest destruction, Greenpeace, 2005
[click to view]

Chainsaw criminal Wijma, Greenpeace, April 2003
[click to view]

Bantu Peoples
[click to view]

Pygmy Peoples
[click to view]

[1] Cameroon Statistics by Mongabay.com
[click to view]

Cameroon: Bagyeli struggling to be heard, World Rainforest Movement, 2002
[click to view]

The 'Pygmies', Survival International
[click to view]

Southeast Cameroon, a story of land theft, Survival International
[click to view]

[2] #Cameroun / L'impossible vérification des documents légaux liés aux permis d’exploitation des entreprises forestières, F/ Pigeaud, Gri-Gri International / Mediapart, 2/09/2015
[click to view]

Other Documents

Rainforest logging in Cameroon, 1999 Greenpeace / Steve Morgan
[click to view]

Baka community (Pygmies) against the new National Park Boumba Bek National Park, overlapping their lands, 2006 Foret Peoples Programme
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorLucie Greyl
Last update29/01/2016
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