Cameroon has a long history of commercial logging, and the forest sector plays an important role in the economy. However, illegal logging has long been recognised as a significant problem in Cameroon. Concerns have been raised over the misuse of certain logging permits in the country, and the lack of effective regulation and law enforcement. Informal small-scale logging has grown significantly since 2000, while land conversion for infrastructure and agricultural plantations is also an increasing threat to the country’s forests.
The government has taken a number of steps to curb illegality in the sector. Cameroon and the EU entered into negotiations for a voluntary partnership agreement (VPA) in November 2007. These were concluded in May 2009, and the VPA was signed in October 2010 and ratified in December 2011. Implementation of the VPA is underway, this including the development of a legality assurance system to control, verify and license legal timber and of procedures to make information on the forest sector publicly available (EFI).
The area of production forest independently verified as legally compliant or of legal origin doubled between 2006 and 2009. However, illegal logging remains widespread in the country. Improved efforts are needed in law enforcement, tackling corruption, and formalisation of the artisanal logging sector (Chatham House, 2015).