The technical and political challenges of the industrial forest sector in Cameroon

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Cameroon's forest sector has for many decades been characterized by industrial, large-scale, concession-based and export-oriented timber production. Over the past two decades, many innovative regulations have been adopted that largely responded to the external requests of the country's technical and financial partners. By using data and information collected over more than a decade, complemented by semi-structured interviews, we assess how some of the most relevant regulations have been implemented. Findings indicate that over the years, a clear disconnect appears between what is promised and adopted in the rules and regulations governing the industrial sector, and what is actually implemented on the ground. We discuss how such disconnect may have originated and how it may negatively impact the sustainable development of the industrial forest sector. We propose some technical and policy options that may improve the sector's management, positively impact Cameroon's international image and possibly strengthen the country's engagement in international regimes such as FLEGT and/or REDD+.

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