Logging Concessions and Local Livelihoods in Cameroon: from Indifference to Alliance?
Sustainable forest management gives the opportunity to better integrate the way local populations use their customary “village terroirs” in the logging activities. This requirement is explicitly stated in all forest laws of the Congo Basin countries but its implementation on the field remains under documented. In Cameroon, 30 forest management plans (FMP) for logging concessions have been reviewed to assess how they effectively include customary use rights. The integration of use rights into the FMPs is heterogeneous but always with very low enforcement. The weak influence of the FMP application on local practices is confirmed with an empirical survey that shows that natural, financial, and physical capitals in two villages of the eastern region of Cameroon have been little affected by the adjoining logging concession over the latest 13 years. Extrasector policies such as agriculture, road infrastructure, techniques, and land tenure are the real drivers of socioeconomic change at the local scale. Their impacts are facilitated by the presence of the logging concessions, which can contribute indirectly to improve local livelihoods.