Please provide the letter content.
Maximum length allowed is 65535 chars.
A call to promote participatory mapping and land-use planning with local communities in order to secure a future for Ebo Forest
I am relieved to learn that the decrees signed by the government of Cameroon on 4th February 2020 proposing the licencing of two ‘Forestry Management Units’ that would replace Ebo Forest, Littoral Region, Cameroon, were recently cancelled by the President of Cameroon. These logging concessions would have disrupted and destroyed much of the remaining forest and I very much welcome this decision.
Ebo Forest has international and national importance, as it is the most important functionally intact ecosystem in the Gulf of Guinea biodiversity hotspot. Notably, it is home to five species that are fully protected under the Cameroon Wildlife Law Class A, and are classified as Endangered or Critically Endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. These are: forest elephants (Loxodonta africana cyclotis); the potential new gorilla (Gorilla gorilla) sub-species; the most important population of Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes ellioti); the most important remaining drill (Mandrillus leucophaeus) population; and one of only two remaining populations of Preuss’s red colobus (Piliocolobus preussi). The President of Cameroon’s decision demonstrates his awareness of the value of the natural riches of the region and the need to protect them.
Furthermore, Ebo Forest is the ancestral land of more than 40 communities. The local Banen communities depend on Ebo Forest for food and traditional medicines and any non-consensual development of the forest would heavily affect them. The President of Cameroon’s decision to cancel the decrees to replace Ebo Forest with logging concessions should therefore be considered the first step towards establishing permanent protection for the forest, while recognising the rights of the Banen communities.
I therefore call upon you to urge the government of Cameroon to adhere to its international commitments, and to promote participatory mapping and land-use planning with local communities in Ebo Forest. Land tenure reform must have, at its core, the full recognition of communities’ rights. This is the only way to protect this important forest and its wildlife long into the future.
Thank you for your consideration of this important matter.