World Rainforest Movement

Timber ban relaxed in Cameroon

Forests in Cameroon are being destroyed at an alarming rate, due to the high prices of some types of precious wood in the international market, to the weight of the country’s external debt and to the collusion of some government officials and forestry companies, especially French (see WRM Bulletin 4).

Two months ago the country’s government established a ban on timber exports that was considered a way of protecting the forests from abusive exploitation. Nevertheless pressures made by influential French timber operators appear to have been so strong that the authorities recently gave a step backwards by issuing a new decree that permits the export of 30% of the country’s timber, while the remaining seventy per cent is to be processed locally. It is to be mentioned that timber exports account for a majority of Cameroon’s foreign exchange revenue.

Source: BBC, 1/9/99 ‘Cameroon lifts timber ban’