This week we share a Mongabay article about new forestry laws in the works in Cameroon. This is the third story EarthAction shares in a series of recent articles about the unfolding situation in Cameroon. Click here to subscribe to our RSS Feed so you won’t miss a post.
The potential for new laws governing the use of forest resources this year in Cameroon promises an opportunity to stem the rapid loss of forest in the biologically diverse country. But the changes may ultimately not be what’s needed to save Cameroon’s forests.
Resting in the northwest corner of the Congo Basin, Cameroon hosts a dizzying array of biodiversity, including life-list favorites such as chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes ellioti) and forest elephants (Loxodonta cyclotis). But as countries outside of Africa begin to shore up their deforestation hemorrhage by slowing or stopping forest development entirely, foreign investors are searching for new areas to expand the farming of lucrative equatorial crops. At the top of the list is palm oil. Of its expansion in Africa, primatologist and conservationist Joshua Linder said, “It’s going to come with a force.” In the late 1980s, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund started working with leaders in Cameroon to find more money to govern.
“One way to do this in a country like Cameroon, where there was absolutely no industry, was to put the emphasis on exploitation of natural resources,” said Samuel Nguiffo, an environmental lawyer and founder and director of the Center for Environment and Development. So they changed forestry laws to encourage private investment in, among other things, the conversion of forest into fast-growing rows of oil palm trees.