The independent campaigning organisation, Greenpeace has said they remain vigilant in their support of community rights, participatory land-use planning and permanent forest protection.
The statement comes after the Cameroon government revoked a decree approving two logging concessions of 68,385 hectares in the Nkam and Sanaga-Maritime divisions in the Littoral Region, that was going to jeopardize the existence of gorillas, chimpanzees, forest elephants, grey parrots and other threatened and endangered species in that part of the country.
‘Since April, local communities, scientists, Greenpeace Africa and other NGOs have been campaigning to save Ebo Forest. As of early August, the government of Cameroon seems to have suspended logging plans.
However, the fate of Ebo forest – the communities dependent on it and the wildlife that live in it – still remains unclear’ Tal Harris, Greenpeace Africa International Communications Coordinator, said.
A communiqué from the Prime Minister’s office on August 11, 2020 announced the government of Cameroon had decided to withdraw an earlier decree of 14, July 2020 creating Forest Management Units in the forest home to several endangered plants and animal species.
For most local conservation actors and indigenous Banen people who had been denouncing logging plans, this new decision of the government of Cameroon is a big win for the survival of rare species who call this forest “home”. ‘I can go to bed in peace knowing our heritage has been preserved. A big thank you to the Head of State’ His Majesty, Chief Yetina Victor, Ruler among the indigenous Banen people, reacted in excitement.
The richly biodiverse Ebo forest is one of the last intact forests in Central Africa. It is home to the rarest sub-species of the Nigeria Cameroon Chimpanzee that both crack nuts and fish for termites.
The forest is also the ancestral home of at least 40 indigenous communities. The people note the new decision of the government gives hope to communities that have been campaigning for the right to return to their origin. ‘Our dead are burried in that forest. This is our home. This new stance of the government will accelerate our plans to return home and relive the beautiful moments we had before independence’ Chief Yetina added.
While applauding the move , conservationists say there is still much work ahead ‘ We are calling on the government to accelerate plans launched in 2006 to make this area a full protected area’ Dr. Ekwoge Abwe, Manager of the Ebo Forest Research Project hinted.
Greenpeace earlier described the Cameroon government’s logging plans as a death sentence to the rare species living in this forest calling on the world to sign a petition denouncing the move, a petition that generated hundreds of thousands of signatories before government’s new stance on August 11, 2020.
By Gina Leke Tandag, Environmental Journalist, Cameroon
(C) Mimi Mefo Info