Cameroon: African Alliance for Development Action engages stakeholders in combating illegal Timber Trafficking

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Ayuk Rapheal, CEO, African Alliance for Development Action

It is estimated that Cameroon has approximately 600 native tree species. Illegal logging has contributed to 50 of these species being listed as critically endangered under the International Union For The Conservation Of Nature (IUCN) Red List, while 27 species are considered endangered and another 106 species are listed as vulnerable.

In a bit to shed light on this phenomenon, African Alliance for Development Action, AADA, A Non-governmental Organization, is organizing a workshop on combating illegal Timber trafficking in Cameroon by empowering local community leaders by highlighting the effect of this illegal trade on the environment of the communities a point of focus. The workshop which began on Tuesday 6th will run through to Friday 9 September 2022 at hotel Franco in Yaoundé.

The four-day workshop aims at presenting the situation of illegal forest exploitation in Cameroon in general and the central region in particular to leaders of the communities. During the training sessions, AADA along with forest experts from the ministry of forestry and wildlife and partners from the US forest service also presented the trafficking routes used by perpetrators of this activity as well as proposed suitable solutions that can help in the fight against the crime to the local authorities.

Neba Sampson, Divisional Delegate of Forestry and Wildlife, Menchum Division said: “The problem we in the field face is that the local population are ignorant of their rights and responsibilities towards the conservation of natural resources, especially forestry and wildlife. Whereas the 1994 Forestry and Wildlife law makes provision for total participation, total inclusion of the local population for the forestry and wildlife resources to be properly managed.”

Officials are hoping that the community leaders will be able to go back and impact their communities in forestry and wildlife management. “They will inform the communities on their right to access, on their rights to royalties to forest resources; on their rights to assist the government as stakeholders in conserving these resources for the present and future generation. Without these resources, people of the future generation may not be opportune to live in the same environment we are living in today,” Neba Sampson added.

For years now, Cameroon’s forests have been illegally exploited constantly. Based on data from Global Forest Watch, in 2004, Haut Nyong lost 892 hectares of primary forest, making up 70 per cent of its total tree cover in the same period. But data started to change in 2020 when 13.0-kilo hectares of its primary forest was lost, covering 54 per cent of the tree cover in the area.

The workshop seeks to empower local community leaders with skills on combating illegal Timber trafficking in Cameroon

As much as 60-70 per cent of the global timber trade is illegal. The efforts by African Alliance for Development Action in tackling the root causes from the source to supply and onwards and engaging the various stakeholders in the process are having a clear resonance. According to the representative of the        Minister of Forestry and Wildlife, the hope is for the officials to yield “positive results which will help in a greater way in the fight against Timber trafficking, not only in Cameroon but also in the Congo basin and Africa as a whole,” Tandoum Martin, Inspector General No.2 said.

The consequence of these illegal lodging has a bearing effect on the communities whose livelihoods are diminished. Illegal logging contributes to deforestation, which exposes communities to environmental degradation and economic hardship. Without viable legal options to earn a living, communities may face stronger incentives to engage in illegal logging.

The forest in its essence plays two main roles for local communities and the entire planet – Firstly, climate regulation, and secondly, the production of several nutritional resources. The anarchic and illegal exploitation of the forest hurts the well-being of the people in terms of climate change and also the considerable loss of the trees used in the traditional pharmacopoeia.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button