Estimating Level of Exploitation of Tropical Timber in South Western Cameroon with Decision Support Systems

Namuene K. S.

Abstract


Tropical rainforests are the most biologically diverse ecosystems on earth. Cameroon is part of the Congo Basin tropical rainforest stand, with many endangered flora and fauna in the IUCN red list because of deforestation and forest degradation. One of the main courses of deforestation in tropical rainforests is logging, which is exacerbated by illegal logging. Illegal logging is not only carried out by the local population, but, concession holders illegally log exploitable timber beyond their required numbers and volumes that were originally stated in cutting certificates that have the limits to logged numbers and volumes. The Cameroon government has officials and establishments that monitor logging, but, they collect raw logging data which is stored in office shelves, without ever being analyzed to actually know the levels of exploitation of the timber species in the different Forest Management Units (FMUs) that were allocated to concession holders. Because of this, concession holders have a leeway to log indiscriminately because there is not approved systems to actually check and control their logging activities and avert them from logging as well as fine them if they go beyond their logging limits. Forest informatics can be a solution as special purpose apps can be developed with a database at the back end where data from concession holders can be entered, stored and analyzed. KatLog Pro is a special purpose app that has many components including the estimation of the level of exploitation of FMUs. This app analyzes all data from the paper work of the concession holders, compare their exploitation information with their limits, and conclude if they can continue or stop logging based on their present situation; if they are or not beyond their exploitation limits. The app has found that azobé (lophora alata Banks ex Gaertn) is being overexploited, and also illegally logged in the FMUs. Azobé is also the most locally consumed species because of its hard wood and its resistance to bending. The app also found many timber species that have been logged beyond their number and volume limits in the annual cutting area (ACA) Certificate, as well as some inconsistencies in the measurement of volume by concession holders’ loggers in the field.

Keywords


Biodiversity; FMU; Forestry; Logging; Rainforest; Deforestation

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