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Communities Forests

Annex 3: West and Central Africa

Progress and Prospects for Forest Certification

By Mike Packer - Timbmet Group, Forest Trends
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The extraction and export of timber from humid tropical African forests provides a major source of foreign earnings and significant employment in many countries. Increasing rates of exploitation over the last 30 to 40 years has, however, led to a significant decline in forest area. The adoption of sustainable forest management (SFM) principles within the Convention on Biological Diversity (United Nations Conference of Environment and Development 1992) led to shifts in forest policy among Parties to the Convention. Over ten years later, in West and Central Africa, however, the goal of SFM is still a long way from being achieved. This paper examines the obstacles to adopting SFM ractices, the role of the private sector, the role of Panafrican Certification, the role of the Global Forest Trade Network, independent certification in different African countries, and the prospects and progress of certification.