greenpeace - UNESCO fails to protect Cameroon’s Dja Reserve from multiple threats including the Sudcam rubber plantation

 

 

Cameroon’s Dja Faunal Reserve, created in 1950, was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987 due to its outstanding plant and wildlife biodiversity. The Reserve constitutes habitat for fourteen species of primate including Western Lowland Gorillas and Chimpanzees. Nomadic Baka forest peoples have inhabited the area for hundreds of years, possibly longer.

 

 

For the last decade the Dja's biodiversity has been under severe pressure. Threats identified by UNESCO include wildlife poaching, the construction of the Mékin hydroelectric dam north of its boundaries, the prospect of a nickel-cobalt mining project currently owned by Geovic to the East, and, above all, the development of the giant Sud-Cameroun Hevea (Sudcam) rubber plantation as close as a few hundred meters from its western border. (1)

 

 

In late 2015, UNESCO and the IUCN conducted a joint field mission to monitor the impacts of these threats on the Dja. Its report explains in detail the serious negative impacts of each of these pressures, but inexplicably, lists only the Mékin dam and poaching as “Ascertained Dangers” to the reserve’s “Outstanding Universal Value”.  

 

 

Last July 7 Greenpeace wrote to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee to express our alarm about the lack of attention paid to the threat created by the Sudcam plantation. A recent Greenpeace analysis of satellite images shows that since 2011 the company has clear-cut 5,930 ha of forest, 42 % of it over the past one and a half year. That’s over 5,000 ha more than the clearing at the SGSOC palm oil plantation in Cameroon’s South West Region, a project which has been the object of massive NGO and media scrutiny since 2010. 

 

 

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