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Socioeconomic constraints, environmental impacts and drivers of change in the Congo Basin as perceived by logging companies


MANUEL RUIZ PÉREZ a1c1, DRISS EZZINE DE BLAS a1, ROBERT NASI a2, JEFFREY A. SAYER a3, ALAIN KARSENTY a2, MARIEKE SASSEN a2, CLAUDINE ANGOUÉ a4, NORBERT GAMI a5, OUSSEYNOU NDOYE a6, GRÉGOIRE NGONO a7, JEAN-CLAUDE NGUINGUIRI a8, DONATIEN NZALA a9, BENJAMIN TOIRAMBE a10 and YVES YALIBANDA a11
a1 Dpt Ecologia, Edificio Biología, Calle Darwin 2, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, 28049 Madrid, Spain
a2 CIRAD/CIFOR, Campus International de Baillarguet, TA 10/D, 34398 Montpellier Cedex 05, France
a3 WWF International, Avenue du Mont Blanc, 1196 Gland, Switzerland
a4 UOB Département de Sociologie, BP 17055, Libreville, Gabon
a5 100 rue Lampama, Talangaï, Brazzaville, Congo
a6 CIFOR Central and West Africa Regional Office, BP 2008, Messa, Yaoundé, Cameroon
a7 Institut de Recherches Agronomiques pour le Développement (IRAD), BP 2163, Yaoundé, Cameroon
a8 ITTO, PO Box 329, Libreville, Gabon
a9 Université Marien Ngouabi/IDR, BP 13647, Brazzaville, Congo
a10 Laboratoire de foresterie tropicale et subtropicale, FUSAGx, B-5030 Gembloux, Belgium
a11 Ministère des Eaux, Forêts, Chasses, Pêches, de l'Environnement et du Tourisme, BP 830, Bangui, Central African Republic

Article author query
perez mr   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
de blas de   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
nasi r   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
sayer ja   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
karsenty a   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
sassen m   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
angoue c   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
gami n   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
ndoye o   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
ngono g   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
nguinguiri j   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
nzala d   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
toirambe b   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
yalibanda y   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 

Abstract

The external factors that influence the environmental, social and economic performance of logging companies were studied using a questionnaire submitted to 30 logging concessions in five countries of the Congo Basin. This paper analyses socioeconomic constraints and environmental impacts experienced by these concessions, as well as their response to major external drivers of change. Concessionaires considered investment and operating finance their main constraint, followed by insufficient technical and human capacities, and inconsistent application of official regulations. Environmental problems directly produced by concessions' operations represented around one-third of the total score for environmental problems reported. Damage caused by construction of logging roads and erosion were identified as the main issues. Induced problems (two-thirds of the total score) were dominated by hunting, with encroachment and illegal logging perceived as much less significant. Policies, infrastructure, markets and technology are key external drivers of change in concessions' practices, while regional and international forestry institutions reportedly have the least influence, reflecting an emerging scepticism about the proliferation of international institutions and initiatives promoting sustainable forestry.

(Received August 2 2005)
(Accepted July 26 2006)
(Published Online October 12 2006)


Key Words: Congo Basin; drivers of change; environmental impacts; industrial logging; socioeconomic constraints.

Correspondence:
c1 Correspondence: Dr Manuel Ruiz Pérez Tel: +34 91 497 80 00 Fax: +34 91 497 80 01 e-mail: manuel.ruiz@uam.es