Tuesday, August 20, 2002

LOGGING AND BUSHMEAT

Learning to Live With Logging and (Gasp!) Even Liking It
By MARC LACEY

OKOLA, Congo Republic — ...Irresponsible logging replaces rich ecosystems with barren fields. But scientists acknowledge that selective logging can actually help a forest grow and provide room for some animal species, like elephants and bongo, to forage, socialize and reproduce.

This new view that resources can often be managed both for economic and environmental value is uncomfortable for some conservationists. But it is spreading. In fact, some environmentalists say it is the best and perhaps the only approach to conserving nature in rapidly developing countries....

...Logging brings with it unintended consequences that do not give many animals a chance.

The same roads that C.I.B. uses to pull its logs from the far reaches of the forest are used by hunters to go after the animals seeking refuge there....

Illegal bush meat is more difficult to find in the markets than it was a few years ago. There was a time when elephant steaks were readily available in Pokola, alongside chucks of chimpanzee and bongo, all protected species under Congo Republic law. Critics say the problem remains severe, although it is now well hidden in the forests....

Last summer, in a move that company officials had hoped would quell the critics, C.I.B. agreed not to log about 100 square miles of land in its concession, an area known as the Goualogo Triangle. Biologists had lobbied C.I.B. to save the forest because it has some of the highest densities of gorillas, chimpanzees and forest elephants.

Still, for every stretch of protected area there are many even larger swaths of forest set aside for logging....