The Post (Buea)

Cameroon: WWF Lures Companies Into Responsible Forest Management

Three major logging companies in Cameroon have joined the World Wildlife Fund, WWF's, Central Africa Forest and Trade Network, CAFTN, in setting a new standard for responsible forest exploitation in the forests of the Congo Basin.

Under such an agreement launched recently, up to 700.000 hectares of natural forest would be placed under a sustainable management regime.This information is contained in a press release issued by the Communication Service of WWF's Central Africa Regional Programme Office, CARPO.

By becoming members of CAFTN, the logging companies: Groupe Decolvenaere, Pallisco and Transformation Reef Cameroun, have demonstrated their commitment to responsible forest management aimed at obtaining Forest Stewardship Council, FSC, certification for their operations and supplies.

"We are well engaged and aim at attaining the highest possible level of good forest management. The prospects of a credible certification of our forest management and our products help us to move ahead with this engagement ...and we appreciate the support of WFF to this effect," the Director of Pallisco, Michel Rougeron, declared.

According to Paul Reef, Director General of Transformation Reef Cameroun, "in the Netherlands as well as in other European countries, the timber market demands more and more FSC certified products.

"With WWF support within the framework of CAFTN, we are hoping to be able to supply FSC certified wood not long from now," he noted.On his part, the Director General of Groupe Decolvenaere, Guy Decolvenaere, noted that "the international timber market is increasingly asking for certified wood, and we are lucky to be able to work with the support of WWF in the framework of CAFTN."

In a statement, the Regional Representative of WWF for Central Africa, Laurent Somé, expressed conviction that "the adoption of sustainable forest management schemes by the three companies will contribute greatly to the conservation of the Congo Basin forests for the benefit of the people as well as wildlife."

WWF CAFTN Coordinator Elie Hakizumwami holds that "the development of markets for credibly certified wood will contribute to improving the national economy and also improve livelihoods of local communities."

The release observes that illegal forest exploitation and forest crimes are largely due to poor governance at the national level, as well as insufficient implementation of the law at the level of forest management units.

WWF has a strong recognition that responsible forest management and sustainable commercialization of wood plays an important role in the economic growth of tropical countries, and poverty reduction strategies for people dependent on the forest for their livelihoods.

The Global Forest and Trade Network is WWF's initiative to eliminate illegal logging, improve the management of the world's valuable and threatened forests, and promote credible forest certification.

The three logging companies are the first in the region to join the newly launched Central Africa Forest and Trade Network. They are now benefiting from technical assistance provided by WWF and partners to help them achieve certification for their forestry practices.

WWF's CAFTN monitors their progress and provides market links to purchasers of legally produced and certified products.

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