Central Africa has the second largest area of tropical forests in the world. They feature 11 different types of forest (coastline forest, mountain forest, mangrove forests, etc.) that are home to many species of trees. However, the legal and illegal exploitation of forests, as well as palm oil plantations, are exerting pressure on this natural resource. This is particularly true in Gabon, 80% of which is covered by tropical forests. Thus, the WWF wants to help the Gabonese authorities to improve their sustainable management of these forests, taking into account the challenges of climate change.
In partnership with the Smithsonian Institution1, the project consists in creating a long-term system for measuring the carbon stored by Gabonese forests. For this, the WWF trains employees of the ANPN (Agence Nationale des Parcs Nationaux du Gabon - National Parks Agency of Gabon) and the CENAREST (Centre National de Recherche Scientifique et Technique du Gabon - National Center for Scientific and Technical Research of Gabon). The study is being conducted:
Measurement campaigns on the trees in these two sites have already been carried out in 1995 and 2009. In order to study the resilience of forests to climate change, the WWF is planning to carry out these surveys every 5 years.
The Foundation's contribution will allow the WWF to acquire technical equipment to carry out field work and train technicians and researchers working for the ANPN and the CENAREST. WWF France has been allocated a grant of €110,000 over a period of two years.
1 Founded in 1846, the Smithsonian is the world’s largest museum and research complex, consisting of 19 museums and galleries, the National Zoological Park and 9 research facilities. 5 people are composing the Smithsonian Institution’s team in Gabon.