Logging in the Congo Basin: A multi-country characterization of timber companies uri icon

abstract

  • Industrial logging has been the subject of strong debate, epitomised by the contentious positions around logging in the Congo Basin. Logging companies are often considered as homogeneous and rather static agents, which leads to sweeping generalisations about their performance and the subsequent technical and policy recommendations. This study covers 31 logging concessions in the five ITTO member countries of the Congo Basin. Based on a detailed questionnaire complemented by published statistics, the concessions are characterised by the country in which they operate, their legal status, age, size, origin of capital, and market focus. Concessions show patterns shaped by interactions between these factors, with different logging strategies associated with the resulting groupings. Our results lend partial support to some of the common generalisations about the performance of logging companies of different scales and geographic origin. For example, national concessions tend to have higher processing rates and often create more employment. However, the data also suggest nuances that can contradict some of the conventional views. Thus, some large concessions may well use better management tools than smaller ones while some national concessions may exert a higher pressure on their allocated forests. Some key parameters related to concessions' performance (like species logged, productivity per hectare, percent of the concession logged per year and employment) work together in the specific environmental, economic and policy contexts of each country to produce a complex regional image that is sometimes oversimplified when submitted to anecdotal or special interest advocacy analyses. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

publication date

  • 2005
  • 2005