After being warned by the agency that administers Akanda National Park and the arboretum in this area, we arrived at the site and saw that there was a freshly cut mangrove. procedures, the perpetrator has been identified and acknowledged in facts. This is a landowner who has a concession on the edge of the buffer zone where the mangroves are. He planned to build a house and wanted access to the sea by destroying the mangroves, which does not meet the environmental requirements of Gabon.
The sanction against him is that he will bear the costs of replanting the cut species.
Mangroves threatened by city pressAccording to figures from the Directorate-General for the Environment published in 2016, Gabon has approximately 23.59 million hectares of forests (88% of the country’s territory), including 167,834 hectares of mangrove forests. The province of Estuary, whose capital is Libreville, includes more than 65% of the country’s mangrove area.
According to the Director-General for the Environment and Nature Conservation, despite the strong urbanization of cities as a threat to their ecosystems, Gabon does not suffer from massive deforestation of its mangroves:
In Cap Estérias, there are no major tourism projects because there are environmental standards. The choice is to develop ecotourism in national parks. But as in many African cities, there is a very strong urbanization in Gabon. And urban pressure on land. There are individual projects from people who will acquire land to build their houses on the edge of mangrove areas and others who speculate in land. But the impact on mangroves is not significant, it is not a question of massive deforestation in Gabon.
At our level, we try to sensitize landowners with support from rural communities that live there. They have every interest in protecting it, as it is this mangrove that will protect them from the tide and the floods they cause.
An opinion that Marc Ona Essangui, chairman of the NGO’s brain forest, does not share. For him, the state has allowed the situation to worsen by turning a blind eye to the ecological disaster:
The Directorate-General for the Environment has teams in the field, but did not prevent the destruction. They could have stopped working on the first blow of the chainsaw. Idolo village is only a very small part of the problem of mangrove destruction. The phenomenon is present throughout the Cap Estérias area and the damage is enormous. We believe that the authorities cover the perpetrators of these crimes.
The Directorate-General for the Environment assures us that a field study will be carried out in August to detect other similar cases, other risk areas and possibly make markings and signals.Article written by Hermann Boko (@Hermann Boko)