When interests collide

Excerpt from Forests Monitor study in the Republic of Congo entitled "Sold Down the River": "...CIB is actively pursuing certification and argues that to achieve a sustainable cut they require a large concession area. Thus they now have three concessions totalling over one million hectares and are undertaking an extensive survey of the flora in the concessions in collaboration with WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society). The social aspects of sustainability may prove more of a challenge to the company, such as offering compensation to local people for lost non-timber forest products, involving local people in management and decision-making and securing local land rights. WCS and CIB are sceptical that local communities have the capacity to manage resources responsibly. Partly in consequence of this belief, WCS employ eco-guards armed with automatic rifles to patrol the buffer zone and logging roads around the national park. This is very unpopular with local people who see this as a gross violation of their traditional rights...In some cases, important elephant poachers are made eco-guards in an attempt to take them out of the poaching circuit. It has been reported in the past that these guards often intimidated local people, and allowed their former poaching colleagues to pass freely through checkpoints but confiscated local people’s small amounts of game. The system has created distrust and antagonism between some conservation workers and local people and, in certain places, may have strengthened the position of some of the best-connected poachers who are commissioned to hunt trophy animals..."

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