Responsible Forest Management for the Benefit of Local Communities and Biodiversity
World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has been promoting responsible management of forest resources in the Congo Basin since 2000. This is done through sensitization, development of tools and frameworks to guide sustainable forest management, building the capacity of various stakeholders (logging companies, local communities, civil society…), communication on progress made by companies, and research to highlight the positive impacts of FSC certification on local communities and on biodiversity. Support to logging companies includes strengthening their capacities on Reduced Impact Logging, Corporate Social Responsibility, wildlife inventories and conflict management. Support to local communities is concentrated on building their capacity on identifying and reporting illegal logging, negotiating with logging companies and other business operators for more collaboration and contribution to local development. CSOs are trained to better participate in the monitoring and denunciation of illegal logging, and to act as interface between logging companies and local communities in conflict management.
Currently there is 5.7 million ha of forest FSC certified in the Congo Basin. A study by CIFOR (2014) revealed that local communities around FSC certified concessions receive more benefits than those around non-FSC certified. A wildlife inventory conducted by WWF Cameroon in Campo-Ma’an National Park and its peripheries (including FSC certified logging concessions) indicated that flagship species (elephants and great apes) populations remained relatively stable between 2008 and 2014, despite increasing poaching, logging and agro-industrial activities, and a score of big infrastructure projects being developed in the CB.
It is important to mention that WWF efforts as other conservation works in the region is often weaken by some threats and challenges (illegal logging, poaching and wildlife crime, large scale agriculture, slash and burn agriculture, mining and infrastructure development, weak governance…).
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