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    Environmentalists Want Illegal Logging Stopped in Guinea

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    NTDTelevision

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    Environmentalists are appealing to Guinea's new president Alpha Conde to crack down on illegal loggers who they say are decimating the country's native flora and fauna. Several species are already endangered after decades of slash and burn agricultural practices and forest workers say untouched areas that remain must be protected.

    Tracking chimpanzees in Guinea, an endangered species, in an endangered habitat.

    Their home is under attack from illegal logging, in a country with few resources to stop it..

    Alseny Diallo is the local forest manager.

    [Alseny Diallo, Soya Forest Manager]:
    "We have just found traces of illegal loggers, in this area, which is called Pantaoro, an enclave in the protected forest of Soya. This deforestation is the result of the recent general elections which means that there are few forestry officers on the ground."

    More than a quarter of the country is still forested but that is nearly ten percent less than it was 20 years ago.

    As many as ten companies are exporting timber from Guinea - fewer than half of them licensed to do so.

    Foret Forte is one of the main exporters - they say the illegal trade is undermining their attempts to manage the forest sustainably.

    [Jean Marie Petit, Manager, Foret Forte]:
    "We normally cut down trees with diameters that measure at least 60 centimeters. Sadly though, we've seen that when we leave an area some loggers follow us in and chop down all the trees we've left behind."

    Only a fraction of Guinea's forests are officially protected and its is up to voluntary organizations like Flora and Fauna International to try to protect the rest.

    Here, they are mapping sightings of animals that live in this area - trying to encourage local villagers to protect their habitat.