Toute l'actu sur la protection de l'environnement

Congo Basin: certified forests, a refuge for wildlife

A recent study published in the journal Nature on 10 April 2024 provides encouraging news for biodiversity conservation in the Congo Basin. Led by Utrecht University in the Netherlands, with the support of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), the research highlights the positive impact of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified forests on the region’s wildlife.

The results of the study, which lasted five years and involved hundreds of local employees, are unequivocal. Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified forest concessions are home to a larger population of threatened large mammals than non-certified forests. In fact, certified concessions have seen a significant increase in the number of large mammals such as gorillas and forest elephants, compared with non-certified areas. This increase is particularly notable for mammals weighing more than 220 kilograms, such as gorillas and forest elephants, with a 2.7-fold increase compared to non-certified areas.
These findings underline the crucial importance of FSC-certified forest concessions in protecting the wildlife of the Congo Basin. As well as providing a haven for critically endangered species, these certified forests play an essential role in seed dispersal, nutrient cycling and forest carbon storage in the region.
The challenges of FSC certification
owever, the study highlights the persistent challenges facing biodiversity conservation in the region. In particular, the impact of illegal hunting on wildlife remains a major concern. Despite proactive measures taken by FSC-certified forestry companies, such as blocking old logging roads and supporting alternative sources of protein for local communities, illegal hunting continues to threaten biodiversity in the Congo Basin.
These results underline the crucial importance of responsible forest management in conserving biodiversity. FSC-certified forest concessions offer a concrete example of how wildlife conservation can be reconciled with sustainable economic development. Sustainable forestry practices support not only biodiversity, but also local communities and help combat climate change by preserving tropical forests.
Despite the obvious benefits of FSC certification, it is still largely concentrated in northern countries, with little involvement of tropical forests in southern countries. What’s more, small-scale forestry operations, particularly family or community forestry, are often excluded from the certification process, which limits their access to international markets.
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