Timber Best Practice Guidelines for Protected Areas Management in Gabon
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Located in Central Africa, Gabon contains large swaths of tropical forest that are a reserve for an incredible level of plant and animal biodiversity. In order to protect this biodiversity, in 2002 thirteen national parks were created along with buffer zones surrounding these parks. Since 2007 Gabon’s national park agency, L’Agence Nationale des Parcs Nationaux (ANPN), has been the regulatory body governing both the parks and their associated buffer zones. In recent years, Gabon’s rapidly expanding timber industry has threatened the integrity of these parks. Within buffer zones, timber operators are required to submit environmental impact assessments to ANPN and the Ministry of Environment to demonstrate that timber operations will not negatively impact neighboring parks. However, as of 2012 ANPN lacked guidelines for how timber operations should be conducted in park buffer zones, and thus lacked a mechanism by which to enforce or monitor timber operators for environmental compliance. To help resolve this challenge, I spent a total of thirteen weeks in Gabon as an intern with ANPN. I was assigned the task of developing best practice guideline recommendations for how timber operations should be conducted in national park buffer zones. I also incorporated a way to score companies for their compliance with these best practices. In order to create the timber best practice guidelines I assembled twelve international guidelines into one document, incorporated the priorities of ANPN, obtained feedback from forestry experts, and ensured the guidelines were realistic and context specific by working for five weeks with Olam Timber Gabon. I then created an associated compliance scoring template (CST) utilizing the theory of decision analysis and the method of swing weighting. With the timber best practice guidelines and associated CST, ANPN is closer to being able to enforce good practices adjacent to national parks. They now have the ability to clearly state what they expect of timber operators in buffer zones, and they have a method to monitor operators for compliance. Given the negative impacts timber operations can have on ecosystems, the implementation of the guidelines will help ensure that Gabon’s national parks remain intact for years to come.
Subjectprotected area management
CitationWinchester, Caroline (2013). Timber Best Practice Guidelines for Protected Areas Management in Gabon. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/6696.
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Rights for Collection: Nicholas School of the Environment