Gabon lies in the African Congo Basin, the “Green Heart of Africa” (WWF). The vast forests are unique on account of the rich biodiversity they harbour, the people who live in and around them, and the environmental services they provide, not only to many countries in Central Africa but also to the world as a whole.

One of the largest populations of forest elephants lives in the area. Gabon still has important populations of western lowland gorillas, a species that is threatened with extinction.

It’s because of its extraordinary biodiversity and ecological value that Congo Basin is one of the priority areas for global ecosystem protection.The Congo Basin forests are being slowly destroyed by a variety of economic and social forces that include population growth, agricultural expansion and extraction of natural resources.

In Gabon, only 2 million hectares are currently FSC-certified (only 3 out of 40 major companies in Gabon are FSC certified). This means that the country risks losing 20 million hectares if we don’t act now. Illegal timber trade is on the rise and expected to constitute 50 per cent of all forestry activity in the country.

On 26 September 2018, the President of Gabon – His Excellency Ali Bongo Ondimba - took an important step towards sustainable forest management by declaring that as of 2022, all forest concessions operating in Gabon will have to be certified by FSC. Forest concessions are therefore required to immediately embark into certification in order to meet this milestone set by the government.


Why stop deforestation in Gabon?

Every year, 8.8 million hectares of forest is destroyed worldwide. Most of this happening in tropical regions, where there is a particularly rich variety of life. Even larger areas are suffering from degradation – where the forest remains, but its richness and health is in decline.All this threatens the survival of countless species, fuels climate change jeopardizes people’s livelihoods and undermines the vital services that forests provide.

Stopping tropical deforestation is the easiest and cheapest way to fight climate 
change – and it can be done in a commercially interesting way, with FSC and the support of the companies in the timber sector. That’s what this project is about. Together we can save 20 million hectares 

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an international certification scheme as well as 
a worldwide network of organisations that advocate socially equitable, environmentally 
sustainable and economically viable forest management.

FSC has proven to be the most effective and efficient way to stop deforestation. FSC certified forests are managed in a way that preserves biological diversity and benefits the lives of local people and workers.

Clearcutting is being replaced by sustainable forest management which means that trees are still being harvested, but selectively and carefully as to not damage the forest and its services for climate, people and nature.

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Go to:

  • Climate

                 Gabon forests will continue to mitigate at least 69 Mton CO2 per year. 

  • Biodiversity

                 Protect gorillas, forest elephants and other rare and ecologically valuable species.

  • Community

                 Schools, health clinics and housing for workers and the forest communities

Our Gabon Programme will

  • Maintain areas of environmental and social value 
  • Protect the people, plants and animals that live in and around, and depend upon, the forest.
  • Respect Indigenous Peoples’ land rights and enhance forest workers’ rights
  • Protect areas of high conservation value (HCVs).
  • The Gabon Rainforestcontains significant concentration of plant and animal species; rare, threatened, and endangered ecosystems; including areas of rare or outstanding biological, ecological, or social value. 

We need to build the number of Ark Teams delivering on the ground advice, education and guidance to communities preparing Rainforest Concessions for FSC Certification

The more teams that we have on the ground, the faster we can progress to FSC Certification; securing the sustainable future of a Rainforest threatened with imminent destruction 

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Project Leader
Stephen Fern
ARK 2030