We partner with communities all over the world to back the people who rely on, live in and protect the rainforest – Indigenous peoples and local communities. This includes our partners in Gabon, Organisation Ecologique des Lacs et de l’Ogooué (OELO) who are working to create community forests around lake Oguemoué, Gabon.
Introducing ‘Our Forest, Our Future’
Lake Oguemoué’s community launched an initiative called “Our Lake, Our Future” ten years ago to protect the lake fisheries, leading to Gabon’s first freshwater fisheries management plan. The community set aside three no-take zones, banned destructive fishing practices, and organized community patrols which resulted in immediate improvements. With support from OELO, the lake community hlaunched a sister initiative, “Our Forest, Our Future,” with the goal to reclaim ancestral forests and manage forest biodiversity sustainably for generations to come.
The challenges they face
For more than a decade the community has experienced the destruction of their environment caused by an irresponsible logging company. The loggers have cut down protected species, transported logs in midnight barges across the lake cutting residents’ fishing nets without reimbursement, encouraged poaching of protected species, including elephants, and paid people to cut down trees surrounding villages, implicating local people in illegal logging and sowing divisions in communities.
This could go on no longer. Community members from the seven villages that surround the lake formed ACLO (Association des Communautés du Lac Oguemoué). ACLO and OELO applied to Eaux et Forêts, Gabon’s Ministry of the Environment, Waters, and Forests, to reclaim their ancestral lands using a model community forest project. As well as the area being managed sustainably for biodiversity conservation, the project would give local communities ownership and long-term generational benefits from their forests.. How? By creating a management plan with a diversity of income streams including: non-timber forest products, ecotourism, wildlife conservation, anti-poaching patrols and other opportunities.
However, bureaucratic obstacles have delayed the approval process.
Help them to achieve their goal
Now is a critical time to move the “Our Forest, Our Future” initiative forward. Gabon, with 88% forest cover, plays a vital global role in addressing climate change and biodiversity loss. It is now considered the most carbon positive country in the world, with its forests sequestering more carbon than the country emits. Recent government projects have acknowledged the need for community participation in forest management, but “Our Forest, Our Future” awaits approval from the Ministry of the Environment, Waters, and Forests.
Help them achieve their community forest and donate now.