Posted on 21 October 2020
WWF welcomes the National Forest Stewardship Standard (NFSS) published by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) in Cameroon after a five-year multi-stakeholder revision process (2015-2020).
The NFSS standard, to become effective on December 29, 2020, will help protect intact forest landscapes (IFL), a large patch of forest free from industrial development in and around FSC certified concessions. Unlike the previous standard which only addressed large-scale logging concessions, the new standard now applies to all types of forests, including small and low intensity management units and community forests. It will provide opportunities for maintaining forest cover and securing indigenous peoples’ legal and customary rights of ownership, use and management of land, territories and resources.
“We welcome the approval of the new FSC standard in Cameroon. This is something WWF has been strongly advocating for as part of its global forest goals to halt deforestation and degradation, manage forests sustainably and improve local livelihoods,” says Clotilde Ngomba, WWF Cameroon Country Director. “If properly implemented and widely used, this standard can contribute to reducing deforestation and forest degradation, whilst improving and benefiting the livelihoods of indigenous and local people, as well as logging companies. It can also support the Cameroon government to reach its biodiversity target as part of its commitment to the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD). We urge forest companies, including small and low-intensity and community forest concessions, to adopt the new standard for the certification of their logging operations. We remain available to provide the necessary support to those willing to improve their forestry operations.”
The NFSS is aligned with, and will contribute to the implementation of the Voluntary Partnership Agreement on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (VPA – FLEGT) that aims at ensuring that wood exported into the European Union has complied with the legal requirements of the Republic of Cameroon.
Protecting IFLs is crucial for the Congo Basin, a biodiversity hotspot home to more than 60 million people and a wide variety of species and plants. The Congo Basin is the world’s second-largest rainforest in the world – more than half of which is in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), still largely intact. It provides food, water, shelter, medicine, spiritual and cultural significance, as well as home to endangered animals such as gorillas, bonobos and forest elephants. The forest region also constitutes the fourth largest carbon reservoir in the world. To date, 3 88,449 hectares of forest have been FSC certified, which represents 3% of the total area of logging concessions in Cameroon. So far, no community forest has been FSC certified.
As part of its Forests Forward programme
, WWF works with communities, private concessions, investors, government and civil society in the Congo Basin to improve and invest in sustainable forest management practices, support global trade of sustainable forest products and ensure that the world´s forests continue to provide space for nature.
About Cameroon’s Forests
Cameroon has about 22 million hectares of forests, or nearly 46% of the total country area.
The country has 187 logging concessions including 67 small concessions (council forests) representing around 40% of the forest land area and 653 communities forest representing 11% of the forest land area.
The main threats to the forest in Cameroon include degradation of IFLs, conversion to agriculture from both large and medium-scale plantations, as well as smallholders; fuel-wood harvesting, mining, infrastructure development and unsustainable and illegal logging.