GUINEA: Government reintroduces logging, despite deforestation

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GUINEA: Government reintroduces logging, despite deforestation © Tarcisio Schnaider

Logging is resuming in Guinea after more than a year's ban, motivated by the need to preserve forest cover that has fallen victim to massive looting. The West African country is among the "bad pupils" of forest conservation.

In Guinea, the resumption of logging has been authorized by the government. The measure comes after more than a year of prohibition motivated by uncontrolled logging in a country with rich biodiversity under attack by massive deforestation.

After the Council of Ministers meeting of October 14, 2022, the Guinean government indicated that the exploitation of wood should be reserved for local use and should be regulated. The export of timber remains prohibited. The lifting of the ban on logging in Guinea is valid for one year, with the aim of “satisfying local wood needs,” the Council of Ministers said in its communiqué.

This measure is also accompanied by a reduction in the number of licensed operators, the number of chainsaws, and a reduction of three-fifths of the cutting quotas at the national level, now set at 8,208 cubic meters per month.

Reasons for a contested decision

The Guinean government is thus reversing the decision it made in June 2021. The Guinean Ministry of the Environment had then banned the cutting and transport of timber throughout the country. A few months after the implementation of this decision, the Guinean timber market experienced an unprecedented shortage. “There was a surge in the price of wood, and unemployment at several levels in our carpentry workshops, even in some sheet metal, peak and plywood industries. Wood is very important in social life at all levels,” says Ansoumane Camara, president of the National Federation of Professionals of the Wood Industry (FNPFB).

Faced with this situation, professionals in the timber industry have taken a series of steps to question the government about its decision. To relieve the industry, the authorities issued a decree on January 14, 2022 to supply the local market with timber to assist the population.

Read also-GUINEA: Government to reforest 6,000 hectares of land this year

Guinea is one of the countries with the fastest deforestation rates in the world. In a 2019 article entitled “rampant deforestation,” the Guinean Ministry of the Environment reports that the country’s forest cover has fallen from 14 million hectares in the 1960s to less than 700,000 hectares in the late 2010s. This makes Guinea “one of the bad pupils” of forest conservation, the text describes.

Boris Ngounou

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