On May 15th the West African nation of Gabon implemented a total ban on log exports. According to the International Timber Trade Organization (ITTO) the ban has been efficiently enforced to date and log exports from Gabon have “completely halted”.
ITTO also reports that around 60,000 cubic meters of logs meant mostly for China remains in port, halted by the ban. However, the drop in log exports by Gabon appears to have pushed logging in nearby Cameroon.
Gabon hopes to fill job loss due to the ban with expansion in its processed wood market, and eventually move its market toward finished wood products.
The ban has been put in place in hopes that it will encourage local industry of processed wood products while stymieing illegal logging. In addition, Gabon hopes to profit from the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) program which is expected to begin in the next year or so. The program will pay tropical forest nations for conserving forests as carbon sinks.
Between 1990 and 2005 Gabon lost 0.7 percent of its total forest cover, approximately 152,000 hectares (375,600 acres). Over 80 percent of the country is forested.
(05/10/2010) One of Africa’s largest exporters of tropical hardwoods, Cameroon, has announced today a trade agreement with the European Union (EU) to rid all illegal wood from its supply chain to the EU and worldwide. Cameroon signed a legally-binding Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) that will cover all wood products produced in Cameroon.
(01/22/2009) Gabon has banned the harvest of four valuable hardwoods according to the International Tropical Timber Organization’s Tropical Timber Market Report for Jan 1-15.
(09/24/2005) In a move that sets a new standard in African conservation, the nation of Gabon, which contains some of the most pristine tropical rainforests on earth, announced today that it will set aside 10 percent of its land mass for a system of national parks. Up to this point, Gabon had no national park system. The Gabonese government has been working closely with The Wildlife conservation Society (WCS) on conservation issues for the past ten years. The announcement is a major victory for Africa’s wildlife.