BBC NEWS AT BBC.CO.UK/NEWS
Plans to allow industrial logging in one of Central Africa’s last intact forests have been halted in a move welcomed by environmentalists.
Ebo forest in southwestern Cameroon is home to 40 Banen communities and numerous endangered wildlife species, including Western gorillas, chimpanzees, forest elephants, grey parrots and large frogs.
Cameroon’s government formally announced it was canceling a previous decree that would have allowed timber extraction across nearly half of the 150,000-hectare forest. The conservation group Greenpeace responded, saying the suspension of logging operations must be the first step toward protecting Ebo’s residents. It has vowed to keep campaigning, along with its partner Rainforest Rescue.
A government official told the BBC that the forest eventually will be reclassified as a logging concession or as a protected forest.
“The present statement will not last long,” said Jean Robert Onana, communications director for Cameroon’s Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife. “Classification is a normal procedure and a legal procedure. If we don’t classify this forest, it is subject to poaching or illegal logging.”
He said Cameroon knows environmental conservation is important, adding that 30% of the national territory is under conservation.