The concept of sustainable forest management emerged at the Earth Summit held in Rio in 1992. It entails the conservation and enhancement, for the welfare of present and future generations, of the economic, social and ecological benefits of forests. In Congo Basin countries, This is being implemented by AFD through the development of a tool, the Forest Management Plan (FMP) for concessions. The design and implementation of the above plan incorporates, for an exploited forest, regeneration of the timber product, biodiversity conservation and socio-economic development issues. It is a contractual agreement between the concession holder and the State, for sustainable and long-term logging. In the early nineties, forest management in the Congo Basin was still under experimentation, as exploitation was more akin to mining, without any regard to resource regeneration. Today, out of 31 million hectares of awarded concessions, 20 million hectares are under management, including 4.4 million hectares certified as “sustainably managed” by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). A bold step has therefore been taken in 20 years, although the expression “areas under sustainable management” refers to quite different cases.
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