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Sustaining Forest Management!

As the world continues brainstorming in Paris, France on legally-binding strategies to adopt to cushion the disturbing effects of climate change, Cameroon’s stance has been made loud and clear at the highest level.

Addressing executives from over 200 countries taking part in the United Nations Conference on Climate Change code-named “COP’21”, President Paul Biya on Monday November 30 said climate change is a global threat warranting inclusive action.  

He told the over 150 Heads of State and Government as well as other high-ranking world leaders that although Cameroon is not a huge gas emitter, her contribution to limiting the scourge will be full-scale. The least of actions to be undertaken by the country, President Paul Biya highlighted, will not be ensuring that the forests are sustainably managed.

The sustainable management of the forests as upheld by Cameroon’s Chief Executive entails combating fast encroaching desertification and drawing up a concerted plan for the supervision of the Congo Basin Forests. Cameroon’s solid stance as elucidated by her Head of State couldn’t have been otherwise given the importance of sustainable forest management in handling climate change-related difficulties.

Analysts hold that climate change affects forest conditions like area, health and vitality likewise biodiversity; allowing increases in growth in some areas while endangering the survival of plant species and forest communities in others. Maintaining a healthy forest as well as conserving or maintaining biodiversity, are no doubt, actions Cameroon has embraced over the years. The existence of two separate ministries for environment and forest-related issues (Forestry and Wildlife and Environment, Nature Protection and Sustainable Development) lends credence to this.

Effective management of forest conservation areas and enhancing connectivity between forests areas constitute a package of the sustainable forest management actions which, experts hold, can greatly contribute to climate change mitigation. This can be through reducing emissions from forests and conserving forest carbon.  Identifying sustainable forest management as one of the ways out of the menacing climate change was therefore by no means accidental for and by Cameroon. Statistics show that forest cover in Cameroon is in the neighbourhood of 20 to 22 million hectares (about 48 per cent of the national territory).

That the Head of State is accompanied in Paris by among others, two Ministers in charge of forestry and environment-related issues, is telling of his unwavering desire to see Cameroon leave indelible footprints in the climate change mitigation efforts whose effects are leaving no one, country or continent indifferent. Ministers Ngole Philip Ngwese of Forestry and Wildlife and Pierre Hele of Environment, Nature Protection and Sustainable Development are certainly elaborating on President Paul Biya’s position on embracing sustaining forest management to contain climate change.

Without doubt, the two Ministers are explaining in detail in the four working groups that began yesterday, what has been done or could be done in sustainably managing the country’s forests to limit the devastating effects of climate change.

This is obviously in line with government’s short, medium and long-term plans vis-à-vis the forestry sector considered as pivotal in containing climate change. The least of these actions are not conserving existing forest potentials, stabilizing the production of legal wood, supporting councils and communities in forest management and increasing the surface area of forest plantations. Hopes are thus high that as curtains will be dropping for the hope-raising Paris Summit, concrete actions would have been jointly arrived at to accompany Cameroon and others sustainably manage their forests and rise above growing climate change hurdles.

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