- Illegal logging and forest conversion have been widely reported in Cameroon.
- Wide-ranging illegalities in specific supply chains have recently been exposed, in particular related to the Cameroon-China and Cameroon-Vietnam timber trade flows but concerns remain about illegal timber entering other international markets.
- Significant efforts have gone into increasing transparency but corruption remains a concern.
- Reports continue to document cases of illegal logging particularly around high value species.
- Enforcement remains weak and there is a risk of illegal timber harvested from Cameroon being smuggled across the border and exported from Nigeria.
Read more by downloading the Cameroon Timber Legality Risk Dashboard here.
Illegal logging is a growing feature of transnational organized crime in Africa, often facilitated by the collusion of senior officials, with far-reaching security and environmental implications for the countries affected.
The Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD) is prioritizing the investigation and prosecution of timber trafficking offenses, including through the recent creation of the TIMBER Enforcement Working Group. This has led to the largest-ever fine for timber trafficking, restitution to foreign countries for illegally sourced timber and insight into how trafficking works.
ENRD has been working to build enforcement capacity and working relationships in Cameroon and other nations in the Congo Basin rainforest ecosystem since approximately 2017. Most recently, division attorneys last month met with several Cameroon Ministries and the Prime Minister’s Office regarding the proposed formation of a unit dedicated to combatting timber trafficking to support the legal timber trade. Cameroon officials also toured prosecutors through the new port of Kribi and an associated wood yard.
The tropical forests of the Congo Basin are home to nearly 1 million indigenous people. After thousands of years of survival, deforestation is perhaps their biggest challenge yet. On International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, FRANCE 24 takes a closer look at what’s being done to help.
This article details the involvement of communities in illegal logging. “Only illegal logging brings something to the village. As far as legal exploitation is concerned, we see nothing,” recognizes the head of one of the towns of the municipality of Lokoundjé.
For one year, The world And InfoCongo met with dozens of timber traffickers, residents and drivers of illegal logs in Cameroon. Their testimonies, as well as official documents from the Ministry of Forests and Wildlife (which did not wish to answer our questions), show that illegal logging is accelerating.
This overview report assesses the region’s progress in developing timber traceability systems to reduce additional pressures from over-exploitation due to corruption, insufficient accountability, and illegal logging. It examples how Tanzania’s established timber traceability system may offer valuable lessons to guide Congo Basin countries in a stepwise process to overcome complex models, gain political buy-in and secure government ownership.
Officials say most member states in the Central African Economic and Monetary Community, CEMAC, have failed to honor a ban on raw timber exports that was enacted last year to conserve forests and create jobs by locally processing wood.
The six member countries of the Central African bloc agreed to ban raw timber exports starting in January 2022. The ban is aimed partially at combating climate change by protecting forests from excessive logging.
However, an online meeting of CEMAC forestry and finance ministers Thursday found that only Gabon and the Republic of Congo have suspended the timber exports to China and other Asian countries. Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad and Equatorial Guinea have not.
The deadline for implementing the ban was initially pushed back to January 2023 to give the CEMAC countries more time to comply. Motaze suggested the bloc push back the deadline again to 2025 so countries have more time to invest in wood processing equipment and in training workers.
For stakeholders of Cameroon’s timber industry, the tax burden is too high. The 2023 finance law voted last December increased forest taxes and timber export duties from Cameroon. The most affected sector is that of logs (wood still in the trunk state with its bark).
It is in this wake that operators since January 2 are on strike. A strike characterized by the suspension of customs declarations to denounce the tax pressure deemed too strong.
For the employers’ organization association of the wood sector in Cameroon (GFBC) as reported by RFI, the situation is not tenable and the increase supposed to generate new income for the State will threaten companies survival.
In Central Africa, the ban on the export of logs will no longer take effect from 1 January 2022. The entry into force of this measure has been postponed to an unspecified date. This was the outcome of the 38th ordinary session of the Council of Ministers of the Economic Union of Central Africa (UEAC), which ended on 28 October 2022 in Yaoundé, Cameroon.
This is a retropalent for the countries of the Economic Union of Central Africa (UEAC). The entry into force of the ban on timber exports in the form of logs, which was set for 1 January 2023, has been postponed to a date yet to be determined.
(Business in Cameroon) – The Cameroonian Minister of Forest presented the government’s expectations following the common decision by Cemac countries to ban log exports in the region, starting from January 1st, 2023. In an interview with Cameroon Tribune, Jules Doret Ndongo (pictured) said this decision augurs very well for forestry production.
In view of the entry into force, from January 1 2023, of the measure prohibiting the export of logs in the six CEMAC countries (Cameroon, Congo, Gabon, Chad, CAR and Equatorial Guinea), a workshop devoted to the validation of the regional guidelines for taxation and forest certification is currently being held in Libreville.
Food shortages, the disappearance of medicinal plants and essences, and changes in lifestyle are the consequences of deforestation on the indigenous peoples of Central Africa. Nearly 60 km from Douala in Cameroon, in the Littoral region, on a normal road that runs along a track that is engulfed in the forest, and out of nowhere, we enter the village Mamba lost in the middle of the forest.
Cameroon has notified UNESCO of plans to build a road in Lobéké National Park, part of the World Heritage listed Sangha Tri-National protected area. The country’s Minister for Forestry and Wildlife says the road will help to secure the area against cross-border poachers and others engaged in criminal activities, but conservationists are concerned it could facilitate deforestation.
Illegal logging in Cameroon’s Ebo forest threatens the African zebrawood tree with extinction. Rising demand for its beautiful wood, lax local law enforcement, and civil strife have accelerated logging while hindering conservation efforts. Conservationists want zebrawood to be placed on a CITES list and for the forest — also home to endangered gorillas, chimpanzees and red colobus monkeys — to be declared a national park
Click here to access the Global Illegal Logging and Associated Trade (ILAT) Risk assessment tool and to download the Forest Trends User Guide describing the functionality of the ILAT Risk Data Tool.
Click here to access the Cattle Data Tool.