Cameroon boasts 20 million hectares of forest- nearly half of its national territory
According to a report statement released by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), in Cameroon, “informal logging creates 45 000 direct jobs and generates more than $32 billion USD”.
However, we can notice this informal logging may damage the environment by reducing the quantities of trees and even by causing the disappearance of certain valuable tree species.
Cameroon is presented in the report as Africa’s largest exporter of tropical hardwood to the European Union, most of which is sawn timber destined for Italy and Spain. Though its reputation as an international timber exporter is well-known, its domestic timber market and trade have been documented only recently, Cifor says.
The NGO said there are “no official data collected to assess the sector’s economic, environmental and social impacts, making the State the main loser in the growth of this informal sector”.
In the informal cutting, there is no control over the quantities, the quality, the size of trees, no plan of reforestation, no control over the protection of rare forest species or the protected areas. Which is not the case in the regulated trade. For the wood to be exported towards Europe for example, it has to have a certificate of legality which gives evidence that the company which cut this wood respected the FLEGT (Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade) rules. FLEGT is a set of standards which give evidence that the wood was cut legally and sustainably.
According to another study published in January 2017 by the NGO Greenpeace, for the past 10 years, Africa lost 101 000 Km2 of its forests due to illegal cutting.
90 % of these forests are in the Congo Basin to which belongs Cameroon. If it continues, all the forests of the Congo Basin will disappear during the next 60 years, adds the NGO.