Thursday, November 15, 2018
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Illegal Forest Exploitation Impedes Development – Expert 

By Marceline Chick

Forestry experts of the Centre for Environment and Development, CED, have disclosed that illegal forest exploitation in Cameroon impedes development.

The experts, joined by a group of independent investigators of illegal forest exploitation, were speaking in Yaounde recently, while presenting the outcome of their findings. According to Jacques Waouo, a forestry expert from CED, they decided to investigate illegal forest exploitation to expose the ills in the sector and what can be done to combat it.

He stated that they chose the Centre and East Regions for the investigation, whose results could apply to the rest of the nation. Waouo said, according to the investigation, forest exploiters usually don’t respect the terms of their licenses, which affects the local population negatively.

The expert said there should be control in the award of forest exploitation licenses, and that the local population should be involved when logging activities are carried out in their locality.
He said the presentation of the findings was to remind Government on the consequences of the ills and how it could set up strategies to stop the vice, for sustainable forest management.

Meanwhile, in her presentation, Angele Ankoh from the Organisation for the Protection of the Environment and Sustainable Development, PERAD, East Region, said the dangers of illegal forest exploitation in her community have led to the degradation of roads, destruction of cultures, accidents and conflicts within the community, among others.

Ankoh proposed that the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife should evaluate the impact of illegal forest exploitation on the local population and the communities. She suggested that this could lead to a review in the award of licences.

The environmentalist also proposed that the government should institute a monitoring mechanism for forest exploiters to respect the rights of the people living in the forest zone.
Reacting to the revelation, Albert Ela Menounga, representing the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife, lauded the experts for the investigation.

However, he said the ministry, through the Divisional delegates, has put in place strategies to monitor illegal exploiters. He added that, they are putting all together to track down such exploiters because their activities threaten sustainable development.

Menounga cautioned chiefs of villages where timber is being exploited to reject illegal exploiters. He appealed to Mayors of forest localities to check those who exploit timber illegally and report to the competent authorities for action.

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