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Do Forest-Management Plans and FSC Certification Help Avoid Deforestation in the Congo Basin?


  • Kenneth HOUNGBEDJI
  • Isabelle TRITSCH
  • Gwenole LE VELLY
  • Benoît MERTENS
  • Patrick MEYFROIDT
  • Christophe SANNIER
  • Jean-Sylvestre MAKAK
  • Kenneth HOUNGBEDJI


To allow for the production of timber while preserving conservation values, forestry regulations in the Congo Basin have made Forest Management Plans (FMP) mandatory in logging concessions. This paper uses original high-resolution maps of forest-cover changes and official records on the activities of logging concessions to analyze the impact of FMP on deforestation in this region. We apply quasi-experimental and difference-in-difference approaches to evaluate the change in deforestation in concessions managed under an approved FMP. We find that between 2000 and 2010, deforestation was 74% lower in concessions with an FMP compared to others. Building on a theory of change, further analyses revealed that this decrease in deforestation takes time to occur and is highest around communities located in and nearby logging concessions, and in areas close to previous deforestation. These findings suggest that FMP help avoid deforestation by allowing logging companies to rotate cycles of timber extraction, thereby avoiding the overexploitation of areas that were previously logged, and by the better regulation of access to concessions by closing former logging roads to limit illegal activities such as shifting agriculture, hunting and the illegal harvest of timber or fuel-wood.

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  • Kenneth HOUNGBEDJI & Isabelle TRITSCH & Gwenole LE VELLY & Benoît MERTENS & Patrick MEYFROIDT & Christophe SANNIER & Jean-Sylvestre MAKAK & Kenneth HOUNGBEDJI, 2019. "Do Forest-Management Plans and FSC Certification Help Avoid Deforestation in the Congo Basin?," Working Paper d406edbc-23ca-4619-8e3d-2, Agence française de développement.
  • Handle: RePEc:avg:wpaper:en9560

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Blackman, Allen, 2013. "Evaluating forest conservation policies in developing countries using remote sensing data: An introduction and practical guide," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 1-16.
    2. Blackman, Allen & Goff, Leonard & Rivera Planter, Marisol, 2018. "Does eco-certification stem tropical deforestation? Forest Stewardship Council certification in Mexico," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 306-333.
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    8. Brandt, Jodi S. & Nolte, Christoph & Agrawal, Arun, 2018. "Deforestation and timber production in Congo after implementation of sustainable management policy: A response to Karsenty et al. (2017)," Land Use Policy, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 375-378.
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    Cited by:

    1. Delacote, Philippe & Le Velly, Gwenolé & Simonet, Gabriela, 2022. "Revisiting the location bias and additionality of REDD+ projects: the role of project proponents status and certification," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(C).
    2. Liu, Bingcai & Roopsind, Anand & Sohngen, Brent, 2024. "Overlapping extractive land use rights increases deforestation and forest degradation in managed natural production forests," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 174(C).
    3. Kenneth Houngbedji & Benoit Mertens, 2022. "Plans d'aménagement forestier et conditions de vie des populations des forêts d'Afrique centrale," Post-Print hal-03954488, HAL.
    4. Guillaume Lescuyer & Raphaël Tsanga & Samir Nziengui & Eric Forni & Claudia Romero, 2021. "Influence of FSC certification on the governance of the logging sector in the Congo basin," Natural Resources Forum, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 45(3), pages 289-304, August.
    5. Chervier, Colas & Ximenes, Arimatéa C. & Mihigo, Blaise-Pascal Ntirumenyerwa & Doumenge, Charles, 2024. "Impact of industrial logging concession on deforestation and forest degradation in the DRC," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 173(C).
    6. Shapiro, Aurélie & d’Annunzio, Rémi & Desclée, Baudouin & Jungers, Quentin & Kondjo, Héritier Koy & Iyanga, Josefina Mbulito & Gangyo, Francis Inicko & Nana, Tatiana & Obame, Conan Vassily & Milandou,, 2023. "Small scale agriculture continues to drive deforestation and degradation in fragmented forests in the Congo Basin (2015–2020)," Land Use Policy, Elsevier, vol. 134(C).
    7. Jean-Louis Combes & Pascale Combes Motel & Manegdo Ulrich Doamba & Youba Ndiaye, 2023. "Mining the forests: do protected areas hinder mining-driven forest loss in Sub-Saharan Africa?," Working Papers hal-04061084, HAL.
    8. Rico-Straffon, Jimena & Wang, Zhenhua & Panlasigui, Stephanie & Loucks, Colby J. & Swenson, Jennifer & Pfaff, Alexander, 2023. "Forest concessions and eco-certifications in the Peruvian Amazon: Deforestation impacts of logging rights and logging restrictions," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 118(C).
    9. Halalisan, Florin & Romero, Claudia & Popa, Bogdan & Arana Landin, German & Talpa, Nicolae & ABRUDAN, Ioan Vasile, 2023. "Global assessment of FSC forest management certification auditing through analysis of accreditation reports," Land Use Policy, Elsevier, vol. 131(C).

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    More about this item


    Cameroun; Congo; Gabon; République centrafricaine;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics

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