The Cameroon government has announced it is canceling a plan to log nearly 170,000 acres of the Ebo Forest following sharp criticism from indigenous communities, conservation groups, and scientists.
The Cameroon government has announced it is canceling a plan to log nearly 170,000 acres of the Ebo Forest following sharp criticism from indigenous communities, conservation groups, and scientists. The ecosystem is one of the last intact forests in central Africa and a biodiversity hotspot, harboring hundreds of rare plant and animal species, including the tool-using Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee, western gorilla, and giant frogs.
In July, Cameroon Prime Minister Joseph Dion Ngute signed a decree that turned half of the Ebo Forest into a “forest management unit,” allowing the government to sell logging concessions. But on August 11, Ngute, at the direction of President Paul Biya, withdrew the decree, suspending any logging plans, according to the news site Afrik21. President Biya also ordered a delay to reclassify an additional 160,000 acres of the Ebo, which could have potentially opened up even more forest for logging.
The government’s “intervention to halt the imminent destruction of this unique forest is hugely welcome,” Bethan Morgan, head of the San Diego Zoo’s Global Central Africa Program who has worked to protect the forest’s great apes, said in a statement. “We hope that the international community will seize this opportunity to work with the government of Cameroon to make Ebo a showcase for long-term conservation in harmony with very challenged communities.”
Read more at Yale Environment 360