A forestry company in Gabon has built new roads to log a forest in the northeastern province of Ogooué-Ivindo. Villagers had applied to the government last August to reclassify this valuable forest as a protected area, and say they are alarmed by the company’s rapid advance while they wait for a formal response.
Rural communities in this area rely on local forests for fishing, hunting and gathering. These livelihoods and the wildlife populations they depend on are increasingly threatened by mining, intensive logging, and poaching for the illegal ivory trade and unregulated commercial hunting for bushmeat. A massive increase in logging by foreign companies over the last decade — around 40 companies hold logging concessions covering most of the area — and associated road building has opened access to formerly intact forests and razed local ecosystems.