The Cameroon Prime Minister’s office announced the suspension of logging plans in Ebo forest on Tuesday, 11 August. The suspension of logging plans, which Greenpeace Africa called “a massacre”, leaves the fate of Ebo forest and the rights of local Banen communities entirely unclear.
Ebo forest is essential for more than 40 local Banen communities. Amidst a global coronavirus crisis, Cameroon’s government decided to open it for logging, threatening to ruin its unique biodiversity and exacerbate the climate crisis.
Greenpeace Africa warned against this, adding that protecting natural wildlife habitats may also be the world’s best bet for preventing future pandemics such as COVID-19.
The fight’s not over
Greenpeace Africa and Rainforest Rescue will continue campaigning until the forest is saved and community rights are secured. The two organizations support the following statement by Chief Victor Yetina of Ndikbassogog, representative of the Association Munen Retour aux Sources, and Dr. Ekwoge Abwe, manager of the San Diego Zoo’s Ebo Forest Research Project:
“We welcome the suspension for now of logging plans in Ebo forest, but are concerned that its fate remains unclear. This decision must be the first step towards recognition of Banen’s rights and forest protection.
“We call on the Government of Cameroon to adhere to its international commitments, and to promote participatory mapping and land-use planning with local communities. Land tenure reform must have at its core the full recognition of communities’ rights. International donors and NGOs need to support these processes with technical expertise and resources – in Ebo forest and across the Congo Basin rainforest.”
Ebo forest is a blessing to more than 40 community villages, numerous species (some of them endangered) and the planet. But the Cameroonian government just decided to destroy 68,385 hectares of it, an area about half the size of London, despite the strong disagreement of Banen communities.
Carbon sink home to many endangered species
Ebo forest in Cameroon is one of the intact forest ecosystems in the Gulf of Guinea, stretching over 2,000 km2. It is home to many species, some of them endangered.
There is a small gorilla population of unknown taxonomy, a population of the Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee, forest elephants, drills and the critically endangered Preuss’s red colobus. Many of these are on the Red List of Endangered and Critically Endangered species of the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). Furthermore, Ebo forest is an important carbon sink, containing an estimated 35 million tonnes of carbon. It is also the ancestral land of the Banen communities.
But this massive biodiversity hotspot is now facing a major threat. The latest decree issued by the Cameroonian government may be the death sentence of many of these endangered species.
Greenpeace asks once again to cancel plans for industrial logging in Ebo forest and to designate it as a national park instead.
- Help protect this pristine forest by signing the petition.