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  • Legalizing Cameroon’s timber production chain

Legalizing Cameroon’s timber production chain

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By Leona Liu, originally posted at CIFOR’s Forests News

A recent study presents the most comprehensive scientific analysis of illegal logging to date. Its findings indicate that one third of tropical timber traded globally comes from illegal deforestation.

“Forestry crime including corporate crimes and illegal logging account for up to $152 billion every year, more than all official development aid combined,” said Erik Solheim, Head of UN Environment, one of the partner organizations supporting the assessment.

More than 40 scientists around the world, including several scientists from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), produced the report. The study was coordinated by the International Union of Forest Research Organisations (IUFRO) in association with the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF).

Researchers found that bilateral trade agreements between producer and consumer countries- like the European Union’s Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade Action Plan (FLEGT), which requires timber products imported into the EU be legally sourced – have prompted shifts in the timber trade from industrial export-oriented markets to small-scale logging operations for the domestic market.

This pattern can be observed in Cameroon, Africa’s largest exporter of tropical hardwood to the EU, most of which is sawn timber that goes to Italy and Spain. Due to a lack of government regulation concerning the domestic wood sector, approximately half of the country’s timber is sold on the black market.

Timber produced for domestic consumption is generally absent from official statistics and produced without a valid permit. But now, under a voluntary partnership agreement signed with the EU under FLEGT, Cameroon is developing the systems needed to control, verify and license legal timber.

This video documents the challenges facing small-scale loggers in Cameroon. The country’s entire domestic timber sector is marked by informal practices, from felling trees to selling sawnwood. Although informal methods do not respect all the national regulations, they do not necessarily break the law either. This is why researchers prefer the word ‘informal’ to ‘illegal.’

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  • Financial and economic values of bushmeat in rural and urban livelihoods in Cameroon: Inputs to the development of public policy

Financial and economic values of bushmeat in rural and urban livelihoods in Cameroon: Inputs to the development of public policy

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  • Efficacy of oil palm intercropping by smallholders: Case study in South-West Cameroon

Efficacy of oil palm intercropping by smallholders: Case study in South-West Cameroon

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Intercropping oil palm during its immature stage with food crops is usually blamed for its negative impact on the growth and future yields of palms. Agro-industries unanimously condemn such practice. For smallholders on the contrary, intercropping presents numerous advantages as it not only covers the weeding cost but also provides food and revenue while waiting for the palms to come into production. While such trade-off may be of little interest to an agro-industry, it appears as determining for many smallholders. The study was carried out in seven communities in the Bamuso Sub-division of the South–West Region of Cameroon and seeks to understand how smallholder oil palm farmers (small, medium and large scale) use the intercropping technique during the early stages of oil palm development as a means to improve on their livelihood. Results indicated that, a mean annual wage of 705,000 FCFA (€1075) was obtained per hectare per household for smallholders practicing intercropping. In addition to income gained, intercropping significantly reduced the cost of weeding. The study therefore, suggests the need for pre-emptive measures—such as food crop choice, planting density amongst others—to be taken into consideration when intercropping annual food crops with oil palm so as not to jeopardize the yield of oil palm at production stage. The finding is of significance for sustainable agriculture in that intercropping encourages poverty reduction for marginalized people especially women with no access to land, maximises land use by farmers, food security in households, stability in yield and profit in smallholders’ oil palm plantations.

Source: CIFOR publications

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