Community forests; Gabon; Sustainable management; Rural communities; DACEFI project; Legislation
[en] Forest resources abound in Gabon. Species diversity and quality of trees in the Gabonese
forests make it a very lucrative production niche. Even though international forest operators are well established there and are making profit, the Gabonese rural communities have not yet developed their own operations. In view of their remoteness from decision-making centers, villagers often unlawfully lose, without being aware of it, a great deal of the riches in their villages. Today, the rural socio-economic component is not sufficiently integrated in the management factors of the resource, even though populations that depend on them daily are
supposedly the best placed individuals to make wise use of them. In this sense, community forestry helps to promote sustainable use of forest resources at a scale that is at par with the needs of the community, and seeks to guarantee that profits are shared at village level. In Gabon, the process of legalization of community forests is ongoing since 2001. Pilot projects
such as DACEFI (Development of Community Alternatives to Illegal Logging) strive to assist
communities in securing their community forest. However their legalization is slow in coming, while logging activities in the rural forest estate are increasing, and the quality of the species is deteriorating continually.