Two logging permits suspended in Cameroon following ForestLink alerts sent by local communities
April 26, 2023
Further evidence of the vital role of community-based forest monitoring has emerged from the Yoko district of Mbam-et-Kim, Cameroon, after two logging companies had their permits suspended following alerts of infractions sent by community monitors.
L’association Écosystèmes et Développement (EcoDev), a partner organisation of the Rainforest Foundation UK who have been implementing ForestLink since 2019, reported the confiscation of two permits from logging companies Société Forestière BOURAKA (SFB) and Nomo Felix Devalois (NOFELD). The permits were suspended on the 23rd February, due to fraudulent documents and non-respect of social responsibility agreements by logging outside of permitted boundaries.
Alerts from members of the local community were sent via ForestLink, the Rainforest Foundation UK’s Real-time Monitoring system, which allows individuals to report on potential crimes such as illegal logging or land rights violations in real-time.
These alerts then led to follow-up investigations by the Standardised Independent External Monitoring System (SNOIE), with two permits provisionally withheld from SFB while the verification took place. The follow-up investigations then resulted in Cameroon’s Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife deciding to suspend SFB and NOFELD’s permits.
EcoDev has also seen success with the training of civil-society actors in Mbam-et-Kim on forest monitoring, leading to this region seeing the highest number of ForestLink alerts sent in the 2021-2022 period. Investigations by SNOIE to verify alerts sent by EcoDev-trained communities have also led to a third logging company, SMK, having logging activities suspended in the Ngambé-Tikar district.
"The impact of real-time monitoring in the district of Yoko is being felt. It is clear that this suspension comes in response to ForestLink alerts and the independent external observation report sent to the Ministry of Forests and Wildlife (MINFOF). The platform for managing natural resources put in place by us formalises the activity of monitoring forestry activities at the local level, and we need to maintain this momentum because there are green lights for collaboration at the local level." said Chrétien Belibi, Project Manager at EcoDev.
This follows the launch of a first of its kind webmap by RFUK and its local partners in Africa and Peru that includes thousands of illegal deforestation alerts sent by local community monitors using the ForestLink system. This shows the extent of illegal deforestation in tropical forests is a model for how to improve transparency and accountability in forest governance from the ground up.
“The suspension of these logging permits clearly demonstrates the power and potential of community-based approaches to forest protection, and the ability of tools such as ForestLink to improve the detection and law enforcement of illegal deforestation”, said Robyn Stewart, Senior Coordinator, Real-Time Monitoring.