Cameroon suspends logging plans

Cameroon has suspended a plan to allow logging in a forest that is home to gorillas and chimpanzees, in a move welcomed by environmental campaigners.

Ebo forest in south-western Cameroon is home to 40 Banen communities and numerous endangered wildlife species - including forest elephants, grey parrots and large frogs.

The decision to bring 68,385 hectares of the forest under direct state control was withdrawn on the orders of President Paul Biya.

Greenpeace responded on Thursday, saying the suspension of logging operations must be the first step towards protecting the lives of Ebo's residents. It has vowed to keep campaigning, along with its partner Rainforest Rescue.

Cameroon's Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife Communications Director Jean Robert Onana.

said that the present statement will not last long.

"Classification is a normal procedure and a legal procedure. If we don’t classify this forest, it is subject to poaching or illegal logging."

He added that Cameroon is conscious of the need for environmental conservation, pointing to the fact that 30% of the national territory is under conservation.

While the forest has long been used by nearby villages for subsistence activities such as hunting, gathering, fishing and small-scale agriculture, its proximity to Cameroon’s big cities makes it an easy target for poachers looking to sell bushmeat at high prices to urban residents.