ATIBT is the implementing partner of a major EU-funded initiative to support reforestation and further improve forest management practices in Cameroon. The project, Reforestation in the Forest Management Units of Cameroon (UFA-Reforest) was launched last year and runs until 2026. Its aim is to “contribute to the sustainable management of Cameroon’s timber production forests by mobilising private and public stakeholders around reforestation and future forest management strategies”.
Four ATIBT forestry management member businesses are taking part, Pallisco, Grumcam-Alpicam, Sefac, and Seef. The objective, over the course of the programme, is to plant 240,000 trees at a rate of 60,000 per year. The first round of reforestation projects focused on 17 ha of degraded areas, the second, now underway, is stepping up to 27 ha. Each of the forest management businesses has a nursery to supply reforestation activities stocked with 125,000 seedlings. These are planted out when they reach 40 cm high.
UFA-Reforest forms part of a wider strategy, the Programme for Improving Governance in Forestry in Cameroon (PAMFOR). Technical support is being provided by the Gembloux Agro-Biotech faculty at the University of Liège and Belgian-based NGO Nature+, which supports community-based and participatory approaches to natural resource management, providing technical assistance and training to forestry businesses and community forestry projects. The Higher School of Technical Education (ENSET) at the University of Douala is also involved.
Early in 2023, the project was visited by an EU delegation to evaluate its progress to date and discuss issues with forest concession managers, conservation services, and local communities. The trip took in Pallisco’s nurseries and forest operations and also a visit to the forest and timber operations in eastern Cameroon of Dino & Fils, which is looking for support from UFA-Reforest. The EU representatives expressed satisfaction with the work of the project and complimented the quality of forest concession infrastructure.
A delegation from the Cameroon National Assembly, including the Trade Ministry, also visited Pallisco to gain an understanding of the realities of the forestry sector and to listen to the concerns of local people. Other forestry businesses have also been invited to see UFA-Reforest activities and learn about the project. Together with representatives of the Ministry of Forests and Fauna, 18 managers from eight forestry companies spent a week at the Pallisco Mindourou site to look at operations in the field and discuss reforestation issues. Topics raised on the visit to the Mindourou nursery, included seed supply, tree species diversification, and production of non-timber forest products. Challenges in plantation plot preparation also came up in talks. It was recommended that further such visits to UFA-Reforest operations should be organised.
Click here to see a video about UFA-Reforest.