20061005

 

ROC: Forest policy and practice in the Republic of Congo and impact on indigenous peoples

*Recommend resource. Excerpt: "...The presence of forestry companies in the north of the country has positive and negative impacts. Many of the companies act as a surrogate for the state, creating islands of stability in otherwise neglected areas of the country. Nevertheless, their practices have critical shortcomings, such as discrimination against local people in general and against Pygmies in particular, and promotion of commercial bushmeat hunting. Forestry companies generally only recognise the rights of and enter into communication with Bantu villagers, neglecting the Pygmy forest dwellers. Bantu communities therefore tend to get most of the benefits from the operations, such as cash and goods, schools and dispensaries. Roads tend to go through their villages. Despite some positive developments, however, logging operations have negative impacts to a greater or lesser degree on all local people. From local people’s perspectives, the main problems are: The companies do not listen sufficiently to local people’s needs: Although villagers generally support logging companies, there tends to be profound disagreements over specific issues. Local Congolese may want a school to be built if the company logs their area, or they may not want large Sapelli trees near the village to be felled as they provide large quantities of caterpillars that are eaten when there is little other food available..."

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