Cameroon Steps Up Forest Restoration, But Must Not Forget Existing Forests
Cameroon's government plans to restore 12 million hectares (30 million acres) of deforested land to redress the challenges of dwindling forests and help mitigate the effects of climate change.
Local councils, nongovernmental organisations and businesses are backing the plan, which will be accompanied by efforts to conserve indigenous forest.
Launching the scheme last month, Hele Pierre, Cameroon's minister of environment and nature protection, said it was the biggest such project yet undertaken in the species-rich Congo Basin, home to the world's second-largest tropical rainforest.
"By restoring our unproductive landscapes, we will help local communities develop sustainably, increase their resilience to climate change and contribute to climate change mitigation," Pierre said.
But environmental experts say that while forest restoration is welcome, there is an even more critical need to protect existing forests, which provide the greatest benefits in terms of limiting climate change and protecting biodiversity.