Congo Basin loggers work toward responsible forest management

Several logging companies in southeastern Cameroon have joined an initiative conservationists say could help save the rainforests of the Congo Basin, the second largest area of tropical rainforests in the world. The African logging firms are working toward independent certification as responsible foresters, restricting their work to certain areas and cutting down only select trees. They also limit the land cleared for access roads and leave areas to regenerate for 30 years after most of the mature trees have been felled. Some firms have also pledged to aid local communities and wildlife, an important move for an area that hosts half of Africa’s wild animals and some 10,000 known plant species. The World Wildlife Fund has been involved in teaching loggers to use GPS satellite technology to keep track of trees to be cut and animals seen during their work. Many of the firms involved say pressure from Western buyers — like British and Dutch governments — played heavily in their decision to get certified.