Illegal logging and the heart of darkness

Illegal logging and the heart of darkness
April 22, 2003

Amsterdam, Netherlands — Imagine looking up and seeing a thick canopy every shade of green, rays of sunlight streaming through leaves as birds twitter and chirp. The humidity is so thick it hangs like a fog over the damp plants on the ground. Something moves in the distance, you can't see what it is, maybe a gorilla? More likely an illegal logger who has come to take it all away.

Tucked into the nook of Africa's western coastline, Cameroon's landscape is a contradiction of dry and vast savannahs in the north and humid, dense tropical forests in the south. Ecologically and culturally, Cameroon is extremely rich. More than 200 ethnic groups make their homes in Cameroon. And the area has a particularly high diversity of wildlife - over 400 mammal species, almost 700 bird species and countless species of plants.

But for how much longer will the communities and the animals enjoy their forest home? Cameroon's environment is under threat. The forests have seen extensive conversion over the last decades. Once lush tropical forests home to many species are now agricultural lands and logging concessions can be found deep in these ancient forests.

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