WWF and Rougier take stock on the progress made after one year of collaboration to promote responsible forest management
As a leading player in the international timber market, Rougier owns production forests and processing facilities in Cameroon, Gabon and in the Republic of Congo. Through its subsidiaries, the Rougier group also distributes and imports timber to France. The company holds FSC certificates for several concessions in Gabon and Cameroon, and its subsidiary Rougier Sylvaco-Panneaux holds FSC and PEFCTM chain of custody certificates.
Since one year, WWF – through one of its leading initiatives to promote responsible forestry and trade – the Global Forest & Trade Network (GFTN), has supported Rougier to maintain and strengthen its objectives to increase volumes of certified products. WWF also makes sure that the company is successful in implementing the measures of due diligence required by the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR).
Rougier and WWF’s collaboration has so far has focused on four key areas:
- elaboration and implementation of relevant indicators for wildlife management and monitoring in Rougier’s concessions in Gabon,
- establishment of effective mechanisms for local development in Cameroon,
- supporting the well-functioning of the anti-poaching unit (USLAB) in Northern Congo
- optimizing the local development fund financed by Rougier and through which the company may contribute directly to local development in Congo.
During their visits, the teams from WWF were able to observe the company’s and its workers’ commitment, its ambitious strategy as well as concrete social, economic and environmental achievements. Even though most of the actions carried out are probably FSC certification-driven, the company’s commitment sometimes goes beyond compulsory certification requirements.
"The company’s social activities and overall investments clearly show its establishment as an operator with a long-term strategy. The company is an excellent local employer and stands out by its logging practices and forest preservation through monitoring procedures and the social organisation around its facilities," says Marie-Christine Korniloff, WWF Frances’s Head of Corporate Engagement.
In order to optimize monitoring and anti-poaching activities in Rougier’s concessions in Gabon, and to show the benefits from measures of responsible management initiated more than ten years ago, it seemed vital to ensure regular monitoring of wildlife value and start by inventorying large mammals on the Haut-Abanga FCSM. A one-month preliminary inventory with an already existing methodology has been scheduled for the first quarter of 2016. Data from this inventory will contribute to the development of a methodology for the comprehensive inventory of the FCSM. The next works aim to plan and organise the inventory, which will serve as comparative base for the monitoring of trends in wildlife density.
In view of improving the functioning of the local development fund financed by Rougier, a financial and functional assessment of this very fund will be carried out shortly by an assessment body which is currently being selected.
Two training courses on the use of the SMART database were held on the Mokabi site during the fourth quarter. Thanks to these trainings, the teams have acquired knowledge to master the first level of this software which is designed to assist workers in monitoring and ensuring that the law is properly implemented. On this occasion, the data collection system used by WWF and models for monitoring were presented, and the SMART database designed for Rougier Mokabi-Dzanga was installed on the site. Feedback from its users will be regularly recorded over the coming months.
After two field missions in Mbang, it became clear that the marketing framework for the sale of NTFP (Non Timber Forest Products) in the Mbang zone needs structuring. This will be carried out by supporting an already existing network of women (RAFAMBA). This support, of which the details remain to be determined, shall allow local communities to gradually increase marketed NTFP quantities, thus generating an increase in income and subsequently improved living conditions for local communities. There are two target products at this stage: wild mango and Djansang.
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