GR: Around the world, legal and illegal resource use is destroying wildlife habitat, eroding soils, and polluting water. Earth has been no match for humans, either those believing they are practicing sustainable harvest, or those just wanting wealth.
“KADEY, Cameroon, In an innovative push to combat illegal logging and the corruption that enables it, community volunteers in Cameroon are being trained to use smartphones to take geo-tagged images of freshly cut stumps and relay the information to the authorities.
“Under a partnership between the government and environmental groups, young people are using satellite-linked phones to document tree-cutting in areas where logging is not allowed.
“They can then upload the photos and make toll-free calls to report the suspicious activity, not just to the police and forest ministry, but also to the National Anti-Corruption Commission, said Bangya Dieudonne, a forestry and wildlife official in Kadey, in the country’s East Region.
“Getting these three institutions informed makes it difficult for forest exploitation criminals to bribe their way through,” he said.
“Training frontline forest defenders aims to reduce illegal deforestation, which is depriving the government of billions of CFA francs in income, hurting communities that make their living from the forest, and making the country more vulnerable to the effects of climate change, officials said.
“With corruption continuing to hamper forest management, new and stronger measures are needed, Dieudonne said.
“So far, more than 100 people have been trained as community “forest defenders” in the East Region and other areas where logging has been especially prevalent, officials said.” –The Local Africa News (More: Armed with smartphones, Cameroon forest defenders take on illegal loggers • The Local Africa News.)
It’s good, but will it be enough?
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It is currently too small a program. Like many other effective conservation tools, this one requires broad popular support and financing for organization and equipment. These are not available.
I am impressed to read your post. The issue of logging is increasingly becoming a challenge also in my country Kenya. In Kenya, we have government trained forest rangers who have even paramilitary training and they are later armed with guns to protect the forests. But regardless of this, the system has always been compromised by the cartels in Saw millers who get logging licenses through their connections and get to log anyhow. However, in Kenya, one of the approaches that appear to be working is community participation in the forest conservation where community are allowed to be custodians of the forests and they are allowed to farm on some spaces of the forest. This way, they become passionate defenders of the forests from illegal loggers and greedy saw millers. You can have a look at my post related to looking for a solution to forest destruction. Regards.
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It is good to hear that Kenyan communities are protecting their forests. If they have the time and resources to look beyond their immediate needs for food and shelter, they might set an example for our endangered forests elsewhere. My best wishes. Garry