Documents through maps and indicators the current and historic extent of logging in Cameroon along with the key actors -- companies and individuals -- engaged in this activity.

Executive Summary

Cameroon contains some of the Congo Basin's most biologically diverse and most threatened forests.

In recent decades, Cameroon's forests have undergone extensive conversion, with half of the historic forest cover cleared for farms and settlements. Agricultural clearing is the primary cause of deforestation; however, logging development is rapidly opening up the major remaining tracts of primary forest.

In this report, the authors rely primarily on maps and indicators to document the current and historic extent of logging, along with the key actors -- companies and individuals -- engaged in this activity.

  • Logging activity has moved rapidly across the country in recent decades. Once concentrated primarily along the coast, logging concessions (abandoned, current, and future) now cover 76 percent of the forested area.

  • The most intact forests, in southeastern Cameroon, are also among the highest in extraction rates and extensive concession area.

  • Of the 84 individuals and companies with active, registered concessions in 1998-99, 25 held title to three quarters of the forests being logged.

  • Foreign companies, primarily French, held at least half of the forest concession area and indirectly controlled other holdings through subcontracting practices.

The report authors provide data on the benefits and costs of logging, both in terms of economic returns and environmental trade-offs. They also examine progress in implementing new forestry legislation that could mitigate the environmental and social costs of development, as well as generate greater tax revenues.