Forest certification and its impacts in gabon
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Forest Certification and its impacts in Gabon. Richard Eba ’ a Atyi. Introduction. Gabon is located in the West Coast of the Central Africa Sub-region Total land area of Gabon: 26.7 million ha Forest cover: 80.2% of the Total land area Exceptional biological diversity

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Introduction
Introduction

  • Gabon is located in the West Coast of the Central Africa Sub-region

  • Total land area of Gabon: 26.7 million ha

  • Forest cover: 80.2% of the Total land area

  • Exceptional biological diversity

  • Population about 1.2 million inhabitants (low density)

  • National Economy based on oil (80% of GDP)

  • Timber harvesting and processing first source of employment from the private sector

  • Timber timber industry centered on one main species: Aucoumea klaineana (Okoumé)


Background
Background

  • Ownership and tenure

  • Markets of timber products

  • Public policy approach


Ownership and tenure
Ownership and tenure

  • All forests are an exclusive property of the the state of Gabon

  • Forest categorized in two: the state permanent forest domain and the rural forest domain

  • All timber harvesting preconditioned by authorization from the forestry administration

  • Local community enjoy customary usage rights over some forest products


Ownership and tenure continued
Ownership and tenure (continued)

  • Three types of logging permits (CFAD, PFA and PGG)

  • CFAD and PFA are logging concession granted within the permanent forest domain

  • Logging companies have no rights to exploit NTFP in concessions granted to them

  • Two types of taxes: area based (about one US$ /ha, and value based according to species)

  • 11 million ha already granted to 221 companies

  • 50% of the area opened are managed by 13 companies mostly owned by French business holdings


Markets of timber products from gabon
Markets of timber products from Gabon

  • Two production zones

  • Production of approximately 4 million cubic meter of industrial roundwood (70% of the production exported as raw logs)

  • SNBG in charge of the commercialization of timber products in international markets

  • Asian markets (particularly China) are the most important for Gabon’s timber products

  • Processed products are however exported towards Europe

  • Certified products exported mainly to Europe


Public policy approach
Public policy approach

  • Dominant role of the government in the decision making process

  • No institutionalized public debates on forest laws and regulations before adoption

  • Logging enterprises are usually informed and capable of influencing the process

  • Donor community has much influence in State decision making (WB, IMF)

  • International ENGOs also influential

  • Poor involvement of local populations


Initial support to forest certification gabon
Initial support to forest certification Gabon

  • Important role of international organization

  • The EU/WWF project

  • The National Working Group (NWG) on forest certification

  • ITTO and ATO

  • The Keurhout Foundation

  • Government and sub-regional organizations



Development of standards
Development of standards

  • The Keurhout approach

    • Minimum requirement

  • The FSC approach

    • No FSC working group

    • No specified national standards endorsed by FSC

  • The ATO/ITTO harmonized standards

    • A regional approach to standards development

    • Involvement of CIFOR and international ENGOs


Main problems and constraints in forestry sector
Main problems and constraints in forestry sector

  • Poor capacity of the forestry administration

  • Inadequate policy and institutional framework

  • Inadequate control, monitoring and enforcement of forestry laws

  • Lack of necessary preconditions for long term investment by the private sector

  • Insufficient access of local actors to information

  • Inadequate scientific knowledge


Reaction to forest certification by policy makers and local stakeholders
Reaction to forest certification by policy makers and local stakeholders

  • Negative perception by forestry administration at the beginning

    • Certification process dominated by NGOs

    • Problem of sovereignty

    • Certification does not take into account the specific environment of Gabon

  • Improved perception later

    • Potential positive impact on forest law enforcement


Reaction of forest concessions managing enterprises
Reaction of forest concessions managing enterprises stakeholders

  • Initial positive reaction

  • The Leroy Gabon case

  • Negative opinion of FSC

  • Fear of boycott of African tropical timber products in international markets

  • IFIA code conduct

  • Move towards the Keurhout scheme


Current status of forest land certification
Current status of forest land certification stakeholders

  • 1.5 millions ha certified under the Keurhout system

  • Three companies involved (Leroy, Rougier, Thanry)

  • No FSC certificate


Effects of forest certification
Effects of forest certification stakeholders

  • Difficult to isolate the effects of forest certification from those of general policy changes of the last few years.

  • Local population have a better say in forest management related issues (recent policy changes are partly responsible)

  • Improved governance in the forestry sector

  • Companies managing certified forest are more opened

  • Effect on local development (Thanry case)


Conclusion and prospects
Conclusion and prospects stakeholders

  • Forest certification can be considered as potential tool to promote sustainable forest management in Gabon

  • Forest certification weak as a market incentive for SFM in Gabon (importance of Asian markets)

  • Additional incentive to join forest certification from other processes such as the FLEG initiatives

  • What certification system to join?

  • New FSC Regional Office for Africa


Conclusion and prospects continued
Conclusion and prospects (continued) stakeholders

  • Pan African Forest Certification?

  • Phased approach to forest certification?

  • Potentials for forest certification to contribute to SFM limited


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