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Moabi (Baillonella toxisperma) and Kevazingo (Guibourtia Tessmanii) are sacred and mythical essences for local communities and indigenous peoples who use them for medicinal and spiritual purposes. But they are also highly valued species on the international market for their wood. Illegal logging poses a real risk to the survival of these two species.

Intervention is needed so that Moabi and Kevazingo can continue to exist in the tropical rainforests of the Congo Basin. It is necessary to fight against the illegal exploitation of these two species, to develop a protection status for the Moabi, to demonstrate that the exploitation of its seeds brings greater added value to local communities than the exploitation of timber, and finally to strengthen civil society for the protection of these mythical species.


Major issues

The forests of the Congo Basin are the second largest remaining tract of tropical forest on the planet. Bordering Cameroon, Congo and Gabon, the Tri-national Dja, Odzala and Minkébé (TRIDOM) forest area covers 178,000 km2 of relatively intact forest, or about 10% of the Congo Basin forest area. This habitat is home to exceptional biodiversity, including 25,000 elephants and more than 40,000 gorillas and chimpanzees, but also the highest concentration of large Moabi and Kevazingo.

In recent decades, the rate of deforestation has been increasing at an alarming rate in this area. The allocation of new logging and mining concessions is leading to the opening of roads and the arrival of new populations. Poaching and animal trafficking is increasing. Highly controversial, timber exploitation in these primary forest massifs is mostly unsustainable (as it is concentrated on a limited number of species) and provides virtually no economic benefits to local populations due to public concession rules and corruption.

The exploitation of the large Moabi and Kevazingo is at the root of many conflicts between loggers and communities. The arrival of Asian operators, with little regard for sustainability, is making the situation worse.



The project and the prospects for change


In Cameroon, the project aims to demonstrate the social and ecological importance of the Moabi and the economic added value of the sector in order to obtain protection for the Moabi through national regulations, and if possible, in the medium term through the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The action also aims at scaling up, with a focus on advocacy activities to gain recognition from forest policy instruments of the importance of the Moabi for communities.

The project will increase the income of the targeted populations through the marketing of Moabi butter, protect the species by planting trees, demonstrate the threat to the extinction of the Moabi, while raising awareness on the protection of this tree and the forest in general.

In Gabon, civil society organizations and local communities, who are constantly challenging the authorities, will contribute to the protection of the Kevazingo with their own tools. The project aims to create a functional network of local independent observers (CLPA-OSC), strengthen their organizational and operational capacities, and train them in the identification of infractions related to illegal logging based on a simplified guide for Independent External Observation. The infractions will be recorded and used for advocacy campaigns.


Committed partners


The Cameroonian NGO Tropical Forest and Rural Development (TF-RD) is an association created in 2010 working on the development of local economic sectors that are favourable both to biodiversity conservation on the periphery of Protected Areas, and to local development through the value chain approach (sustainable cocoa Rainforest, and Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) including Moabi). TF-RD created a social enterprise (Tropical Forest Food and Cosmetics - TF-FC) in 2017 in order to better value forest products through processing and marketing.

The Cameroonian NGO Centre for Environment and Development (CED) is an association founded in 1994, member of the International Federation of “Amis de la Terre”, and has a long experience of collaboration with partners such as Friends of the Earth France, Greenpeace, Fern or Rainforest Foundation. It has an internationally and nationally recognized competence in advocating for the protection of Nature and local populations, particularly on the issues of industrial plantations and mining concessions.

In Gabon, the Gabonese NGO Brainforest is an association created in 1998, a major actor of the Gabonese civil society working on Forest and Environment issues, and in particular on advocacy for local populations. Brainforest has a deep knowledge of the target area and of the communities living there, with which it has already worked for several years.

logo brainforest  Logo tfrd  logo cedlogo Franklinia

To learn more about this project please click on this link.




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