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Research Article
Open Access Peer-reviewed

Impact of Logging on the Environment in Congo Brazzaville

Stephen Faller KOUA
Journal of Finance and Economics. 2017, 5(3), 118-127. DOI: 10.12691/jfe-5-3-4
Published online: May 12, 2017

Abstract

Environmental problems represent a major global challenge that requires thinking about how to better exploit natural resources, in this case, forests. The role and importance of forests are no longer to be demonstrated because, apart from the fact that they are indispensable for economic development, they are a reservoir of biodiversity and have a vital importance for humanity, in particular in sequestration of greenhouse gas emitted by human activities. As a result, particular attention must be paid to the way in which they are exploited, while ensuring their sustainability. It would also be futile to envisage the preservation of the environment without mentioning the population factor and the endemic poverty of the African countries despite the endowments in natural resources. The purpose of this article is to assess the environmental impact of logging. Using quantitative and qualitative research methods through investigations on the ground, exploitation of documents related to logging, we have found out the key role played by forest sector in the Congolese society. In fact, wood is the main source of energy for more than 80% of the Congolese population. We have also noticed that the impact of logging on the environment seems to be negligible in Congo Brazzaville and in the Congo Basin in general. Empirical analyses have been conducted through the software Stata to see the veracity of theoretical analysis. Linear regression was made between forest area and CO2 emissions to see the significance of variables. According to our results, we have found out that at the threshold of 5%, the forest sector generates negative impacts on the environment; the reduction by 1% of the forest area, increases CO2 emissions by 141.4622%. Thus, logging has an impact on the environment. Even if the rate of deforestation remains low (0.07%) and current exploitation does not compromise the regeneration capacity of the Congolese forest, the years ahead will be decisive for both forest ecosystems and environment.

1. Introduction

Since the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm, first major summit bringing together heads of state and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) on the issue of the environment, development proceeds unevenly, poverty is growing in many parts of the world especially in Sub-Saharan Africa and, the environment is only deteriorating. Development that respects environmental values has in principle only become a slogan that has known or known its fame in debates and not in practice. Otherwise, why despite all the warning bells of experts, the environment continues to deteriorate and its natural resources are overexploited even if no significant change is seen in development in developing countries?

In this article, we will examine the impacts of anthropogenic activities on the environment. These activities induce irreversible consequences when they are caused by several individuals. We understand that environmental problems due to excessive exploitation of natural resources are intimately linked to the notion of population growth, as well as to poverty that undermines African countries. Indeed, the maintenance of a certain quantity of natural resources, as well as its reduction, should lead to the gradual reduction of the amount of resources available per inhabitant if the population grows. If productivity and/or efficiency do not improve proportionately to population growth, there is inevitably a decrease in resources from one generation to the next 1. It would, therefore, be futile to envisage sustainable development and a common future without discussing the environment and the global resource base. And there can be no fruitful debate if population issues are neglected, as the quest for sustainability revolves around them 2.

2. Presentation of the Republic of Congo

Formerly known as the People's Republic of the Congo (from 1969 to 1992), and now called the Republic of the Congo or Congo, or Congo-Brazzaville (as opposed to Congo-Kinshasa or the Democratic Republic of the Congo formerly known as Zaire) Congo is a small country of some 342,000 square kilometers, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean over a length of 170 km. Located in central Africa straddling the equator, the Republic of Congo is bounded to the north by Cameroon and the Central African Republic (CAR), to the west by Gabon, to the east by the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and to the south by the Atlantic Ocean and the Angolan enclave of Cabinda (Figure 1).

Placed in the heart of the African continent, its geographical location gives it a strategic role in the sub-region, making it the main gateway to and exit from Central Africa, which earned it its vocation as a transit country. Its transport infrastructure facilitates the passage of goods from and to other countries in the subregion.

Since the new constitution of 20 January 2002, Congolese territory is divided into 11 departments, subdivided into 76 sub-prefectures and 7 urban communes: Brazzaville (political capital), Pointe-Noire (economic capital), Dolisie, Nkayi, Ouesso, Mossendjo and Owando.

The Congo is a former French colony, independent since August 15, 1960, so its official language is French, and its national languages are Lingala (much spoken in the north of the country) and Kituba (much spoken in the south. ) Except for the official language and the national languages, the Congo groups some 60 vernacular languages.

The Congolese population is estimated at about 4,085,422 3. Currently highly urbanized, the population is highly concentrated in urban areas, especially in large cities such as Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire, and therefore relatively far from agricultural production centers. Agricultural activity is the main source of income and employment for about one-third of the population.

Despite endowments in natural resources (oil, forests, mineral resources, etc.), Congo is characterized by chronic poverty due to poor public management and lack of political will. In comparison with, for example, the Republic of Korea, which in 1960 had almost the same GDP (in current US $) per capita ($ 155.6) as Congo ($ 130.0), had its GDP per capita Inhabitant to reach the $ 27221.5 dollars in 2015, while that of the Congo is barely $ 1851.2 4.

Being a highly indebted poor country, the Congo has been eligible for the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative, which reached its completion point in early 2010. With a human development index (HDI) of 0.534, Congo is far from being a country that offers a better living environment to its small population of some four million inhabitants with enormous natural resources that overflow its soil and its subsoil. It is nevertheless an important country in hosting the second largest forest estate in the world.

3. Congo Basin Forests

Forests in the Congo Basin, with nearly 230 million hectares, are the second largest rainforest in the world after the Amazon rainforest. A dozen countries share this huge forest area, but in the case of our study, we will limit ourselves to the six forest countries of Central Africa, of which Congo-Brazzaville is a part. Forests in the Congo Basin are now among the areas with the lowest rates of deforestation in the world 5 compared with forests in tropical Amazonia and Asia. The low population pressure, lack of access and lack of infrastructure have helped protect the forest cover of this region of the world for a long time 6. According to Ernst et al. 7, the annual rate of forest deforestation in the Congo Basin has increased from 0.09% in the period 1990 to 2000 to 0.17% in the period 2000-2005. This increase was driven upward by the DRC, where the rate doubled between the two periods, from 0.11% between 1990 and 2000 to 0.22% between 2000 and 2005 (Table 3). These forests harbor invaluable biodiversity and are the future of humanity in the fight against climate change.

3.1. Forests of the Congo

The forest areas of Congo Brazzaville cover about 60% of the national territory or 10% of tropical African forests with about 20 million hectares. They are divided into three main massifs (Table 1): the Mayombe massif, the Chaillu massif, and the Northern Congo massif. These stretches of forests are full of many quality species, including Limba, Sipo, mahogany, Wenge, Sappeli, etc. The savannah zones cover nearly 40% of the Congo's area with about 12 million hectares interspersed here and there with forest galleries in the shallows and along the rivers. The rate of deforestation in Congolese forests is estimated at 0.07% (Table 3).

3.1.1. The Mayombe

Located in the south of the country, notably in the department of Kouilou, it covers an area of 1.5 million hectares. Its exploitation began in the 1930s and accelerated over time. Its proximity to the railway and the Port of Pointe-Noire has favored its overexploitation. It currently contributes to national production to a little over 70,000 m3 logs per year or 11%. The Okoumé (Aucoumea klaineana) and the Limba (Terminalia superba) are the main species.


3.1.2. The massif of Chaillu

Located in the southwest in the departments of Niari, Lekoumou and Bouenza, it is the second in terms of area with 3.5 million hectares. Its exploitation began in the 1960s with the commissioning of the Comilog railway. Like that of the Mayombe, its proximity to the railway has favored its exhaustion. It contributes 150,000 m3 of logs per year to national production or about 21%. Okoumé is the main essence (70% of the standing volume), followed by Limba.


3.1.3. The Northern Congo massif

It is the largest expanse of forest, with 15 million hectares, which for the most part shelter immense dense forests, sometimes flooded and pristine. Its distance from the main transport routes, notably the Pointe-Noire seaport and the Railway, means that its exploitation is moderate. Several species are exploited, mainly the red woods prized notably the Sipo and the Sapelli. This massif participates in the national production to the level of 480,000 m3 logs/year or about 68%.

4. Place of Wood in Congolese Society

The wood occupies a prominent place in African cities in general and Congolese in particular. Indeed, poverty, accentuated by the lack of gas, electricity shedding push the residents to use wood and charcoal as the main sources of energy. According to Mboulafini Maximin 8, Congolese expert on forest management and certification, « the use of forest resources is proportional to the level of poverty of the populations. The poorer the population, the more the forest undergoes human pressure and even the awareness of the sustainable management of natural resources becomes a sword in the water ».

In Congo-Brazzaville, water, electricity, and gas are considered to be rare commodities despite the fact that the country has a vast hydrographic network. Their supply, managed by state companies, responds to the specific characteristics of the underdeveloped countries. The phenomenon of power cuts has become commonplace and is an integral part of Congolese life. This situation persists for years and becomes a normal fact that no longer surprises the Congolese because, through lamenting without finding satisfaction, many have developed nervous problems. Hence, aggressive behaviour towards agents of the National Electricity Company (SNE), who despite their poor management of the electricity network are always on the lookout for unpaid invoices 9.

Therefore wood and charcoal, which are purchased at lower cost, are used as the main sources of energy by households (Figure 3). Indeed, according to Marien 10, wood energy represents 80% of total energy consumption in African countries and Africa is the only continent where wood energy consumption is expected to continue to increase in the coming decades. According to FAO 11, firewood and charcoal accounted for 90% of all wood removals from African forests and one-third of world wood energy production.

In the Republic of Congo, more than 80% of the population uses firewood, charcoal or wood waste. Wood energy is used primarily for cooking food in households where all alternative energy is inaccessible or too expensive. In the past, problems related to the excessive harvesting of wood energy were of particular concern to the Saharan savannah forests, but they are also being felt in wetlands, such as forests in the Congo Basin, especially in the vicinity of urban areas due to growing demand 10. In 1994, the annual flow of wood energy entering the four major cities (Brazzaville, Pointe-Noire, Dolisie and Nkayi) were estimated at 213,880 tons of firewood and 25,461 tons of charcoal, or 426,055 TEQ (Ton equivalent) Fuelwood for an average carbonization efficiency of 12%, which corresponds to an annual turnover of 9 billion CFA francs 12.

5. Impact of Firewood on Health and the Environment

A significant proportion of the world's population, particularly in developing countries, uses firewood as a source of energy. One can wonder about the consequences of daily exposure to these pollutants on health and the environment, given that the habitats in these countries do not allow most often a good smoke evacuation related to the use of charcoal. And what are the effects on the environment?

In poor families in developing countries, wood, charcoal and other solid fuels (mainly agricultural residues and coal) are often burned in open fires or inefficient stoves. Due to incomplete combustion, small particles and other elements known to be harmful to human health are evident in the domestic environment 13. This situation is due to very unfavourable living conditions and constitutes the daily life of these populations, to the point that it becomes normal and they do not worry about their health because they have no other choice. Hence, in Africa «we do not live, but we survive». Some will even say that «the black man does not die of microbes» because of the conditions in which he lives in comparison with western countries.

Therefore, the levy without moderation of the wood of the peri-urban forest massifs has also developed a certain dependence on the use of wood. In 1998, a study conducted in Brazzaville found that wood energy substitution by gas was far from feasible for various reasons of socio-cultural and economic (attachment to wood, fire risk, high cost and irregular gas) 14. Although the effects of harvesting and the use of fuelwood and charcoal as primary energy sources seem to be minimized at the present time, this situation will have long-term adverse consequences on both the population, environment, and forests. The contribution of this energy to pollution is very high compared to other fuels such as butane gas. Indeed, the whole of particles released during the combustion of the coal is very harmful both for the health and the environment. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified human smoke as a human carcinogen, whereas butane gas, obtained by LPG distillation under pressure, is much less harmful.

With population growth, the stalemate in poverty and unemployment, this dependence on wood will inevitably lead to increased pressure on forests and their accelerated destruction, as well as deterioration living conditions and a rise in global warming. Indeed, burning trees for energy purposes is at the intersection of forest, demographic and climatic problems.

6. Aboriginal Population

Undoubtedly, forests around the world and particularly in African countries have a significant economic role and are an important wealth of global biodiversity 15. But beyond these considerations, the African man in general and the Congolese, in particular, have a special relationship with the forest, especially forest peoples. It is, therefore, important to look at forest exploitation, but also to rediscover the people who inhabit them and to examine the impact of logging on their lives. Thus, do the different local, national, regional or international forest exploitation projects, whether development projects or conservation projects, take into account the local socio-cultural realities? 16.

Forest peoples in Central Africa consist of Bantus and indigenous peoples generically called "pygmies". The survival of pygmies depends heavily on the forest. The forest is the very essence of these vulnerable people whose survival depends now on political decision-makers animated by the capitalist instinct.

Are we witnessing the extinction of this marginalized people who have only the forest as their heritage or their forced integration into modern society? In Congo-Brazzaville, as elsewhere, indigenous peoples are marginalized and are considered as subhuman. Despite the fact that they have a thorough knowledge of forestry and traditional knowledge, they have no say in the exploitation of their natural habitat. They are deprived of the right to exercise their right while they play a predominant role in the protection and conservation of biodiversity.

The land in African traditions is a collective good 17. Occupancy is decisive and is one of the structural elements of the land distribution system. The alliance contracted by the first occupant of the earth with the divinities is renewed from generation to generation, in the person of the descendant of the founder. The lineage, by virtue of this primacy of occupation, has special rights to forests and forest products 16. Indigenous peoples, as the name suggests, are natives of the environments where they live (since the pre-colonial period). Logging by large forestry companies means that they can lose their habitat and sometimes find themselves homeless. Indigenous communities represent the peoples most affected by industrial activities because they are totally dependent on the forest 18. Sometimes we must show generosity and compassion for these oppressed and defenseless peoples who have only the forest as their hope of survival. Do not human rights teach us that all men are born equal and every man has the right to live? Modernity has caused African man to lose the traditional ancestral and customary values of nature which he possessed.

As Le Roy 19 demonstrates, tradition, as opposed to modernity, is the foundation of custom. He defines it as an ancestral practice "of mysterious origin because it is often founded on a myth, which must be repeated indefatigably if one does not want to alienate the invisible powers that protect the community". Thus, any breach of custom, or any outrage to the environment, leads to the anger of the spirits, anger often manifested by disease, drought, or other calamities 16. Custom is hitherto anchored in African societies even if we are witnessing its perpetual evolution due to modernity.

It should be noted that the activities of indigenous peoples have almost no adverse impacts on the environment. They jealously and sustainably manage this natural area which constitutes their habitat. Should we not adopt their expertise to preserve the few remaining natural environments?

7. Deforestation

Forest management is a problem closely linked to land use planning, indigenous communities' rights and international trade, which makes it all the more complex and difficult to deal with and even controversial 20. Thus, when all these aspects are not taken into account, for example, the territory is not well managed, this results in a concentration of populations at a given location. This is the case of Congo Brazzaville, where the majority of the population is concentrated in urban areas more precisely in the south of the country.

Deforestation is defined by Kanninen et al. 21 such as the conversion of a forest into another form of spatial occupation or the long-term reduction of forest cover below a threshold of 10%. Although the loss of biodiversity is low in the Congo Basin forests compared to other large tropical forest massifs 5. It is important to note that processes that destroy forest cover elsewhere in the world are also occurring in the subregion 22. Indeed, according to Bellassen et al. 23, deforestation represents 0.15% of the forest area of the Congo Basin compared to 0.51% in tropical America or 0.58% in tropical Asia.

Geist et al. 24 identified three main causes of deforestation, namely: causes related to agriculture, timber extraction, and expansion of infrastructure and mining. To these direct causes, we must add indirect causes, which may be due to natural factors not dependent on human actions.

In rural Central Africa, rural populations are often concentrated along roads or along streams. In Republic of the Congo, this phenomenon is observed throughout the railway. This regrouping of the rural populations along the axes of communication has the effect of concentrating their impacts on forest environments, leading to deforestation and degradation.

Agriculture plays a major role in the process of deforestation. According to Hosonuma et al. 25, the agricultural expansion would account for three-quarters of deforestation in Africa, split equally between subsistence farming to feed the local market and industrial agriculture. Subsistence agriculture is practiced by local farmers while industrial agriculture is practiced mostly by private international investors. In developing countries, 227 million hectares, or the area of Western Europe, have been sold or leased since 2001, mainly to international investors 26. All the agri-food giants are rushing to "grab" land for export crops 27. As Feintrenie 28 points out, in the Congo Basin, investors are nowadays former European colonial powers and from Asian multinationals. In total, more than 1,500,000 hectares of agro-industrial land have been granted in the Congo Basin.

In the Congo Basin forests, timber harvesting is not a cause of direct deforestation, although in some areas the timber harvesting phase precedes the change in use of the area 29. Implementation of timber harvesting in the region under low impact practices requires compliance with a management plan for the harvested area and very low log exports (0.5 to 2 feet • ha-1, i.e. 5 to 15 m³ • ha-1 following a 25-years rotation) 22. According to Malhi et al. 30, this low operating density combined with the deficiency of the road network and the low population density do not cause the critical conditions for deforestation.

On the other hand, consumption of firewood in the Congo Basin countries, usually in the form of charcoal, is very high pressure and causes rapid deforestation in a fairly large area. This phenomenon is pronounced in the city of Brazzaville. Being informal, these levies are beyond control or planning. Despite a low population density and abundant natural resource, wood-energy harvesting in the Congo Basin countries would be much more important than harvesting from forests.

8. Climate Change

It is now known that humanity is in grave danger. Even the most sceptical can no longer ignore the proven consequences of global warming. Climate figures and data are alarming and bear witness to the magnitude of a catastrophic situation. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the level of CO2 emissions linked to the use of fossil fuels increased by 3.2% in 2011 to reach 31.6 gigatonnes, mainly due to emissions from the major emerging powers, China and India 31.

Although pressure on forests and small forested areas in Congo and the sub-region may be negligible for the time being compared to other forest areas such as the Amazon which is experiencing intense deforestation, the long-term consequences can be disastrous. As Carpe 32 points out, compared to other tropical forests, the forests of the Congo Basin are relatively intact. However, under what appears to be an intact canopy, serious degradation is underway. Indeed, large blocks of forest have already become forests emptied of all their great fauna and are consequently deprived of the resources necessary for the survival of forest and wildlife populations. Unless the trend of accelerated degradation is reversed, the forests of the Congo Basin could experience a destruction of the same magnitude as those that occurred in the forests of West Africa and those of South East Asia.

Recent food crises, coupled with rising fuel prices, are putting new pressures on vast areas of forests and other lands, which national governments often see as underutilized, despite the crucial role they play by providing livelihoods to local populations. This trend is partly due to the rapid growth in the economies of China and other emerging economies, with economic growth stimulating demand for energy, water, food and forest products 33. While domestic supply is far from meeting demand and policies to restrict the exploitation of natural forests have been put in place, China has become the world's largest importer of wood. Its imports of forest products increased threefold and log imports five times between 1997 and 2004 34. The impact of this demand on African forests has already been felt and is likely to continue rapidly 34, 35.

The dense tropical rainforest of the Congo Basin is the subject of diversified interests, whose principal, in relation to governments, is certainly the economic interest of the forestry sector. This, although the damage this entails is recognized in their direct and indirect effects 36. Thus, measures must be taken to avoid the catastrophe that is moving towards the horizon.

9. Demographic Explosion and Economic Growth

The demographic explosion in emerging countries (such as China and India) and in developing countries (such as Nigeria) will be a real problem for humanity. To poverty is added more individuals to feed and therefore, more pressure on natural resources. If with the current population, estimated around 6 billion of inhabitants, environmental issues are even stated with acuteness and form a real problem for mankind, a fortiori, when we reach 10 billion of inhabitants in 2050 according to predictions of demographers.

Without taking the risk of an overly pessimistic vision, we can already imagine the horrible consequences of overpopulation in Africa 27. Thus, a demographic transition is necessary for all. In Africa, the notion of demographic transition is perceived as contrary to the divine will. Do not the Scriptures say: be fruitful, multiply and fill the earth (...)? (Genesis 1:28). In African traditions, a large family is seen as a kind of blessing. As IssomoMama 37 points out, families are generally numerous, in the sense that having several children is a sign of prosperity; and consequently, have less or not at all is a badly lived situation and considered as a curse. Large families represent prosperity and security for Africans. They allow the continuity of the descendants and the help to work in a still very agricultural society 38. This calculation explains the obstacles to the take-off of family planning in Africa. For the elderly, it is a kind of life insurance for the future 27.

With this view, it seems clear that Africa is not yet ready for a demographic transition. This is also due to the fact that for African politicians, demographic issues are not a priority. The policies of African governments have never been very alarmist about the population explosion and have instead encouraged large families. To this is added, as Mbaye 39 mentions: "The sacrality of the child, for example, makes Malthusianism incomprehensible to blacks. The respect of the ancestors excludes the confinement of the old people in the hospices".

Also, the fight against poverty, which has only become a slogan with time for the underdeveloped countries, puts pressure on natural resources, in this case, forests. In Congo-Brazzaville, oil is the main contributor of the gross domestic product. It is experiencing a global crisis with the drop in the price of the barrel which has reached the lowest levels. Forestry, which is the second largest contributor to the country's gross domestic product, could play a key role in raising the Congolese economy, which is experiencing a period of crisis as the President said during his year-end speech on 31 December 2016: "the years 2015, 2016 were very difficult years, and the economic and financial situation of our country will certainly be tougher in 2017 than it was in 2016. This difficult context is not exclusive to our country alone. In Central Africa, the entire Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (EMCCA) zone is almost entirely affected (...). 2017 will be the year of rigor and truth". Moreover, Congo, like most countries in the EMCCA zone, is characterized by poverty and political instability. For years, no country has succeeded in eradicating poverty despite the multiple development aids and the famous structural adjustment policies which in effect are seen as a barrier to the development of Third World countries. In fact, how to help countries that are rich in natural resources if it is "to teach them to fish and not give them fish"?

10. Correlation between Population and Environment

Several studies have demonstrated a correlation between population and environmental degradation. The work of the Ehrlich 40 made it possible to define the general theme of the population explosion which is expressed by a simple equation relating population, environment, consumption and technology. Let I = PAT.

With P, representing the population, I the impact on the environment, A, per capita consumption (determined by consumption and lifestyle), and T, the environmentally harmful technology that feeds A. The three factors P, A and T each exert a multiplier effect on the other two; In other words, the impact of one aggravates that of the other two. Thus, irrespective of the size of A and T, the role of P can only be significant, even if the population and its growth rate are relatively moderate. Regardless of the type of technology, the level of consumption or waste, and the degree of poverty or inequality, the larger the population, the greater the overall impact on the environment 40.

This equation shows why developing countries, which are very populated but economically less developed, can generate a very high impact on the environment (and hence the prospects for sustainable development), if only because of the scale Of the multiplier P of factors A and T. Similarly, the equation shows that developed countries also generate demographic impacts because the multipliers A and T of each inhabitant are exceptionally high 2.

10.1. Illustration

To illustrate how the terms of the equation are correlated, let us suppose that, with an exceptional effort, mankind manages to reduce by 5% the average consumption of environmental resources per inhabitant (represented by A in the equation) and to refine its techniques (T) so that they are on average 5% less harmful to the environment. It would reduce the total impact (I) of its intervention by about 10%. But if the rate of growth of the world population (P) is not contained in synchronization, its effect would reduce the total impact to its previous value in less than 6 years 2.

11. Cooperation between Rich and Poor Countries

To cope effectively with environmental degradation, the North and the South will have to cooperate. If the North has developed, it is because of the exploitation of natural resources that have caused damage to the environment. Indeed, it has been largely proved that the main responsible for the deterioration of the global environment are the industrialized countries. It is their system that has imposed itself on the whole of the planet and that development aid perpetuates by facility, perhaps by will 41. All indicators are red on the issue of climate change while developing countries with high population growth with low levels of GDP (Table 3) are also trying to catch up on the cumulative lag. Developed countries then find themselves in a dilemma, either, helping third world countries to adopt policies that respect the environment, or leave them destroying the environment as they have done before.

Deforestation, fires, industrial logging and other degradation factors increase CO2 emissions and undermine the ability of forests to absorb carbon from the atmosphere. Degradation and deforestation of tropical forests annually generate between five and eight billion tonnes of CO2, representing between 11 and 17% of global anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases. The regeneration of forests sequesters 4 to 5 billion tons of CO2 each year. If the degradation of tropical forests were to be stopped, this regeneration and its effects would continue for several decades, allowing the absorption of large amounts of carbon 42.

Deforestation and forest degradation have a threefold negative impact on climate: carbon stored in forests is returned to the atmosphere; the ability of forests to store carbon in the atmosphere is diminished; the remaining forests and nearby areas are more vulnerable to climate change because forests mitigate the impacts of extreme climate events 42.

It's in this perspective that international conferences on environmental issues follow one another, the most recent being that of Cop 21 held in Paris (France) from 21 to 23 December, bringing together NGOs and policy-makers. Several promises have been made, including support for developing countries in the protection and restoration of degraded forests through a green fund.

12. What Future for Future African Generations?

While all indicators are in the red, the African continent does not seem to understand the definite depletion of natural resources. Considered as a manna fallen from the sky, African natural resources are exploited in a rampant way by multinationals that are driven by reasons related more to economic evolution than concern for protecting so-called natural resources. All this, in complicity with the corrupted African political leaders that take advantage of this situation. How can we explain the fact that Africa can helplessly witness the suicide of its children who are obliged to go die in the Mediterranean Sea in search of a hope for survival in Europe? They live in very poor conditions and prefer to go where they will be treated like human beings. Unfortunately, life is not so rosy on the other side as it is believed, especially when you are a man of color.

"In developing countries, 227 million hectares, or the area of Western Europe, have been sold or leased since 2001, mainly to international investors" 26. All the agri-food giants are rushing to "grab" land for export crops. So, one should not be surprised to learn that since 2012, every four seconds an agricultural hectare passes from a poor country to a rich country or a multinational. The reasons for this are simple: cheap labor, lax legislation and, above all, a tax system favorable to exports. The land has become financially active and its control is paramount 27.

The oil rent prevents African countries in general and sub-Saharan Africa particularly to opt for economic diversification and no effort is being made to develop other non-natural resource sectors. Unfortunately, populations do not benefit from the rents associated with the exploitation of these resources. These countries have the same characteristics: dictatorial regimes, constitutional changes, political instability, chronic poverty, etc. Dependent on world price fluctuation of raw materials and infusions of international financial institutions, the economies of these countries are vulnerable and exposed in times of crisis.

13. Empirical Analyses

The purpose of this section is to estimate the impact of the forest sector on the environment by considering CO2 emissions and the forest area in kilometres square. We have chosen these two variables to explore the relationship that exists between them. Two criteria have allowed us to retain these variables, on the one hand, the fact that the theory presents CO2 emissions as environmental deterioration factor and forest area can help us to see the forest space already used, and on the other hand, the availability of data.

In the framework of our study, data were provided by the World Bank Database. We have taken into account, the period from 1990 to 2015 in order to have an overall view of phenomena studied.

Data collected were analyses using the Software Stata which has been treated thoroughly in order to discover the relevance and the veracity that data cover. In fact, linear regression were conducted to see the significance of coefficients related to variables and scatter plot were made upstream to see the evolution of variables over time.

This figure allows us to have an overall view of CO2 emissions in the republic of Congo, from 1990 to 2010. In general the Congo Brazzaville’ CO2 emissions are negligible because of the non developed industrial sector.

According to this figure and theoretical analyses, forests of Republic of Congo seem to be in a good state in comparison with others countries part of the Congo Basin such as DRC. The decrease of forests area is negligible. For example, in 1990 the total forest area was estimated at 227,260 square kilometres and, twenty years later (2015), it was estimated at 223,340 square kilometres, a loss of about 3,920 square kilometres.

The logarithm equation of CO2 emissions and forest area is significant and the coefficient test is also significant (p-value < 0.05). About 76.78% of the variation in the CO2 emissions is explained by the forests and about 23.22% is explained by factors that are not part of the model.

The regression results show that, the elasticity of CO2 emissions to forest area is -141.4622, i.e. all things being equal, when the forest area is reduced by 1%, CO2 emissions will increase by 141.4622%. In fact, forest plays a great role in the attenuation of CO2 emissions; therefore the reduction of its area will lead to disastrous impact in the acceleration of environmental problems. Forest is negatively correlated to CO2 emissions; logging contributes in the CO2 emissions while conservation of forest would be beneficial for the environment.

14. Conclusion

To date, the situation of Congo forests and Congo Basin forests in general remain under control. Indeed, logging and anthropogenic activities have an important impact on the environment. Even if the rate of deforestation remains low and current exploitation does not compromise the regeneration capacity of the Congolese forest as a whole, the years ahead will be decisive for these ecosystems. Indeed, population growth, the increase of poverty, the emergence of government policies and the growing needs of the global demand for wood are likely to have a significant impact on the forest coverage rate.

Therefore, the only economic interest should not be privileged by politicians. In the same way that one is concerned about the economic future of the country, it's the same way that one must also be concerned about the future of mankind in ensuring that people live in a healthy environment. Drastic measures must be taken to avoid an impossible life on earth and to allow future generations to inherit a livable world, because we have come to find the world in good condition. Let us also do a favour to nature, let us avoid being selfish and ungrateful.

Thus, policies for the conservation and enhancement of ecosystems must be developed with the aim of preserving natural resources in general and forestry in particular. Improving the living conditions of the population by fighting poverty is also a better weapon against deforestation and degradation of the environment.

The environmental issue is a fight that cannot be completed by only one country or the rich countries, but it is the whole planet that has to stand as one people to assess the extent of the problem and take unprecedented actions before the situation gets out of control. It is not the means that are lacking but it is just the lack of will. Or we wait until we are "back to the wall" to find a compromise between the countries. If we are to build a sustainable future capable of meeting the needs of a population of 10 billion by 2050, we will have to make profound changes in our economic, political and social structures. Thus, issues of population, resources and the environment must be integrated at all stages of national development plans.

If we have experienced large-scale crises before, and solutions have been found to the example of the Montreal Protocol (on substances that deplete the ozone layer) which resulted in success, it is not, therefore, impossible to do as much for this dangerous issue of the climate changes even if the stakes are colossal.

References

[1]  Nasi R. et al., Exploitation et gestion durable des forêts en Afrique centrale, l'Harmattan, 2006, 404.
In article      View Article
 
[2]  Fonds des Nations Unies pour la Population (FNUAP), Population, ressources et environnement, des enjeux critiques pour l'avenir, 1991, 154.
In article      
 
[3]  ECOM, Deuxième Enquête Congolaise des ménages menée en 2011, Centre National de la Statistique et des Etudes Economiques (CNSEE), 2012.
In article      
 
[4]  Banque Mondiale, Produit Intérieur Brut par habitant ($ US courants), 2016, http://donnees.banquemondiale.org/indicator/NY.GDP.PCAP.CD.
In article      View Article
 
[5]  De Wasseige C. et al., éds, Les forêts du bassin du Congo: état des forêts 2013. Neufchâteau, Belgique: Weyrich, 2014.
In article      
 
[6]  Megevand C. et al., Deforestation trends in the Congo Basin: reconciling economic growth and forest protection, Washington, DC: The World Bank, 2013.
In article      View Article  PubMed
 
[7]  Ernst C., Verhegghen A., Bodart C., Mayaux P., De Wasseige C., Bararwandika A. and Kondjo H. K., Congo Bassin forest cover change estimate for 1990, 2000 and 2005 by Landsat interpretation using an automated object-based processing chain. Int. Archives Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Inform. Sci. 38, 2010.
In article      
 
[8]  Mboulafini Maximin, cited by Info Congo, HYPERLINK "http://infocongo.org/congo-brazzaville-le-bois-energie-destructeur-de-la-foret-du-pool/?lang=fr"
In article      View Article
 
[9]  Koua Stephen Faller, The Major environment problems in Congo Brazzaville: Case of Brazzaville, Journal of Finance and Accounting, 3, 1, 2015, 1-7.
In article      View Article
 
[10]  Marien J. N., Forêts périurbaines et bois énergie: Quels enjeux pour l’Afrique centrale? In: de Wasseige C., Devers D., de Marcken P., Eba’a Atyi R., Nasi R., Mayaux P. (Eds) 2009. Les Forêts du Bassin du Congo – État des Forêts 2008, Office des publications de l’Union européenne, 2009, 217-230.
In article      View Article
 
[11]  FAO, La situation des forêts dans le bassin amazonien, le bassin du Congo et l’Asie du Sud-Est, Rapport préparé pour le Sommet des trois bassins forestiers tropicaux Brazzaville, République du Congo, 2011.
In article      
 
[12]  Lamouroux M., Boundzanga G. C., La filière bois énergie dans les quatre principales villes du Congo, PNAE - Congo: 144, 1994.
In article      
 
[13]  Smith K R., Impacts sur la santé de l’utilisation domestique du bois de feu dans les pays en développement, Unasylva 224, 57, 2006.
In article      View Article
 
[14]  Andzouana L. R., Enquête sur la substitution des combustibles ligneux dans les ménages de Brazzaville. Mémoire IDR. Brazzaville: 59, 1999.
In article      
 
[15]  Smouts Marie-Claude, Forets tropicales jungle internationale: les revers d’une écopolitique mondiale, Presses de la Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques, 2001, 43.
In article      
 
[16]  Ott-Duclaux-Monteil C, Exploitation forestière et droits des populations en Afrique Centrale, Paris l’Harmattan, 2013, 434.
In article      View Article
 
[17]  Malengreau Guy, Les droits fonciers coutumiers chez les indigènes du Congo belge. Essai d’interprétation juridique, Institut Royal Colonial Belge, Bruxelles, 1947.
In article      View Article
 
[18]  Mengue M. C., Waaub Jean-Philippe, Évaluation des impacts socio-économiques: cas d’unité forestière d’aménagement de la compagnie forestière Leroy-Gabon, Vertigo, la revue électronique en sciences de l'environnement, 6, 2, 2005.
In article      View Article
 
[19]  Le Roy Etienne, La formation des droits non étatiques, Encyclopédie juridique de l’Afrique, Tome 1, Dakar, Nouvelles Editions Africaines (NEA), 1982.
In article      
 
[20]  Le Courrier ACP-UE, La gestion durable des forêts tropicales dans les pays ACP du Pacifique, 2002.
In article      
 
[21]  Kanninen M. et al., Do trees grow on money? the implication of deforestation research for policies to promote REDD, Bogor, Indonesia: Cifor, 2007.
In article      View Article
 
[22]  Gillet P., Vermeulen C., Feintrenie L., Dessard H. and Garcia C., Quelles sont les causes de la déforestation dans le bassin du Congo? Synthèse bibliographique et études de cas. Biotechnologie, Agronomie, Société et Environnement, 20(2), 2016, 183.
In article      View Article
 
[23]  Bellasen V., Crassous R., Dietzsch L., and Schwartzman S., Réduction des émissions dues à la déforestation et à la dégradation des forêts : quelle contribution de la part des marchés du carbone. Etud. Climat, 2008, 14, 43.
In article      View Article
 
[24]  Geist H. and Lambin E., Proximate causes and underlying driving forces of tropical deforestation, BioSciences 52(2), 2002, 143-150.
In article      View Article
 
[25]  Hosonuma N. et al., An assessment of deforestation and forest degradation drivers in developing countries, Environ. Res. Lett., 7(4), 2012.
In article      View Article
 
[26]  Courier international HS, mars-avril, « Terres en vue ». 2013, 86.
In article      
 
[27]  Audoynaud André, L'Afrique d'aujourd'hui, l'Harmattan, 2015, 435.
In article      
 
[28]  Feintrenie L., Agro-industrial plantations in Central Africa, risks and opportunities, Biodivers. Conserv., 23 (6), 1577-1589, 2014.
In article      View Article
 
[29]  Karsenty A. and Ongolo S., Les terres agricoles et les forêts dans la mondialisation: de la tentation de l’accaparement à la diversification des modèles, Demeter, 12, 2012, 99-108.
In article      View Article
 
[30]  Malhi Y. et al., African rainforests: past, present and future, Philos.Trans. R. Soc. London Ser. B, 368(1625), 20120312, 2013.
In article      View Article
 
[31]  Tietenberg Tom, Lewis Lynne, Economie de l’environnement et développement durable, Paris, 6e Edition, Pearson, 2013, 390.
In article      
 
[32]  Carpe, Les forêts du bassin du Congo, évaluation préliminaire, 2005, http://carpe.umd.edu/Documents/2005/focb_aprelimassess_fr.pdf.
In article      View Article
 
[33]  White A., Khare A. and Molnar A. Transitions in forest tenure and governance: Drivers, projected patterns and implications, Rights and Resources Group, 2007.
In article      
 
[34]  Mackenzie C., Forest governance in Zambézia, Mozambique: Chinese take away! Final report for Fongza. 2006.
In article      
 
[35]  White A., Sun Xiufang, Xu Jintao, Canby K., Barr C., Katisgris E., Bull G., Cossalter C., and Nilsson S. China and the global market for forest products: China-Africa trade, transforming trade to benefit forests and livelihoods, Forest Trends, 2006.
In article      
 
[36]  Auzel P., Nguenang G. M., Feteké R., and Delvingt W., L’exploitation forestière artisanale des forêts communautaires au Cameroun : vers des compromis écologiquement plus durables et socialement plus acceptable, Réseau de Foresterie pour le Développement Rural, document du réseau, 2001.
In article      
 
[37]  Isso Mama Patrick, La famille vu d’Afrique : Réinventer le sens de la fécondité, Published by jeunescathos, 2015, http://blog.jeunes-cathos.fr/2015/10/13/la-famille-vu-dafrique-reinventer-le-sens-de-la-fecondite/
In article      View Article
 
[38]  Archives de Radio-Canada, 1987, http://archives.radio-canada.ca/sante/sante_publique/clips/12942/.
In article      View Article
 
[39]  Mbaye Sanou, L'Afrique au secours de l'Afrique, De l'Atelier, 2010.
In article      View Article
 
[40]  Ehrlich P. R. and Ehrlich A. H., The population explosion, New York: Simon and Schster, 1990, 37-40.
In article      View Article
 
[41]  Cruse Guillaume, La prise en compte de l'environnement comme facteur de développement, Tiers-Monde, tome 35, n 137. Après le Sommet de la Terre: Débats sur le développement durable, 1994, 151-167.
In article      View Article
 
[42]  Greenpeace, Les forêts: trois impacts majeurs sur le climat, 2015, http://forets.greenpeace.fr/les-forets-trois-impacts-majeurs-sur-le-climat.
In article      View Article
 

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Stephen Faller KOUA. Impact of Logging on the Environment in Congo Brazzaville. Journal of Finance and Economics. Vol. 5, No. 3, 2017, pp 118-127. http://pubs.sciepub.com/jfe/5/3/4
MLA Style
KOUA, Stephen Faller. "Impact of Logging on the Environment in Congo Brazzaville." Journal of Finance and Economics 5.3 (2017): 118-127.
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KOUA, S. F. (2017). Impact of Logging on the Environment in Congo Brazzaville. Journal of Finance and Economics, 5(3), 118-127.
Chicago Style
KOUA, Stephen Faller. "Impact of Logging on the Environment in Congo Brazzaville." Journal of Finance and Economics 5, no. 3 (2017): 118-127.
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  • Table 2. National annual deforestation rates in dense forest areas of the Congo Basin between 1990-2000 and 2000-2005.The number of samples analyzed (n) are given for each country
[1]  Nasi R. et al., Exploitation et gestion durable des forêts en Afrique centrale, l'Harmattan, 2006, 404.
In article      View Article
 
[2]  Fonds des Nations Unies pour la Population (FNUAP), Population, ressources et environnement, des enjeux critiques pour l'avenir, 1991, 154.
In article      
 
[3]  ECOM, Deuxième Enquête Congolaise des ménages menée en 2011, Centre National de la Statistique et des Etudes Economiques (CNSEE), 2012.
In article      
 
[4]  Banque Mondiale, Produit Intérieur Brut par habitant ($ US courants), 2016, http://donnees.banquemondiale.org/indicator/NY.GDP.PCAP.CD.
In article      View Article
 
[5]  De Wasseige C. et al., éds, Les forêts du bassin du Congo: état des forêts 2013. Neufchâteau, Belgique: Weyrich, 2014.
In article      
 
[6]  Megevand C. et al., Deforestation trends in the Congo Basin: reconciling economic growth and forest protection, Washington, DC: The World Bank, 2013.
In article      View Article  PubMed
 
[7]  Ernst C., Verhegghen A., Bodart C., Mayaux P., De Wasseige C., Bararwandika A. and Kondjo H. K., Congo Bassin forest cover change estimate for 1990, 2000 and 2005 by Landsat interpretation using an automated object-based processing chain. Int. Archives Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Inform. Sci. 38, 2010.
In article      
 
[8]  Mboulafini Maximin, cited by Info Congo, HYPERLINK "http://infocongo.org/congo-brazzaville-le-bois-energie-destructeur-de-la-foret-du-pool/?lang=fr"
In article      View Article
 
[9]  Koua Stephen Faller, The Major environment problems in Congo Brazzaville: Case of Brazzaville, Journal of Finance and Accounting, 3, 1, 2015, 1-7.
In article      View Article
 
[10]  Marien J. N., Forêts périurbaines et bois énergie: Quels enjeux pour l’Afrique centrale? In: de Wasseige C., Devers D., de Marcken P., Eba’a Atyi R., Nasi R., Mayaux P. (Eds) 2009. Les Forêts du Bassin du Congo – État des Forêts 2008, Office des publications de l’Union européenne, 2009, 217-230.
In article      View Article
 
[11]  FAO, La situation des forêts dans le bassin amazonien, le bassin du Congo et l’Asie du Sud-Est, Rapport préparé pour le Sommet des trois bassins forestiers tropicaux Brazzaville, République du Congo, 2011.
In article      
 
[12]  Lamouroux M., Boundzanga G. C., La filière bois énergie dans les quatre principales villes du Congo, PNAE - Congo: 144, 1994.
In article      
 
[13]  Smith K R., Impacts sur la santé de l’utilisation domestique du bois de feu dans les pays en développement, Unasylva 224, 57, 2006.
In article      View Article
 
[14]  Andzouana L. R., Enquête sur la substitution des combustibles ligneux dans les ménages de Brazzaville. Mémoire IDR. Brazzaville: 59, 1999.
In article      
 
[15]  Smouts Marie-Claude, Forets tropicales jungle internationale: les revers d’une écopolitique mondiale, Presses de la Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques, 2001, 43.
In article      
 
[16]  Ott-Duclaux-Monteil C, Exploitation forestière et droits des populations en Afrique Centrale, Paris l’Harmattan, 2013, 434.
In article      View Article
 
[17]  Malengreau Guy, Les droits fonciers coutumiers chez les indigènes du Congo belge. Essai d’interprétation juridique, Institut Royal Colonial Belge, Bruxelles, 1947.
In article      View Article
 
[18]  Mengue M. C., Waaub Jean-Philippe, Évaluation des impacts socio-économiques: cas d’unité forestière d’aménagement de la compagnie forestière Leroy-Gabon, Vertigo, la revue électronique en sciences de l'environnement, 6, 2, 2005.
In article      View Article
 
[19]  Le Roy Etienne, La formation des droits non étatiques, Encyclopédie juridique de l’Afrique, Tome 1, Dakar, Nouvelles Editions Africaines (NEA), 1982.
In article      
 
[20]  Le Courrier ACP-UE, La gestion durable des forêts tropicales dans les pays ACP du Pacifique, 2002.
In article      
 
[21]  Kanninen M. et al., Do trees grow on money? the implication of deforestation research for policies to promote REDD, Bogor, Indonesia: Cifor, 2007.
In article      View Article
 
[22]  Gillet P., Vermeulen C., Feintrenie L., Dessard H. and Garcia C., Quelles sont les causes de la déforestation dans le bassin du Congo? Synthèse bibliographique et études de cas. Biotechnologie, Agronomie, Société et Environnement, 20(2), 2016, 183.
In article      View Article
 
[23]  Bellasen V., Crassous R., Dietzsch L., and Schwartzman S., Réduction des émissions dues à la déforestation et à la dégradation des forêts : quelle contribution de la part des marchés du carbone. Etud. Climat, 2008, 14, 43.
In article      View Article
 
[24]  Geist H. and Lambin E., Proximate causes and underlying driving forces of tropical deforestation, BioSciences 52(2), 2002, 143-150.
In article      View Article
 
[25]  Hosonuma N. et al., An assessment of deforestation and forest degradation drivers in developing countries, Environ. Res. Lett., 7(4), 2012.
In article      View Article
 
[26]  Courier international HS, mars-avril, « Terres en vue ». 2013, 86.
In article      
 
[27]  Audoynaud André, L'Afrique d'aujourd'hui, l'Harmattan, 2015, 435.
In article      
 
[28]  Feintrenie L., Agro-industrial plantations in Central Africa, risks and opportunities, Biodivers. Conserv., 23 (6), 1577-1589, 2014.
In article      View Article
 
[29]  Karsenty A. and Ongolo S., Les terres agricoles et les forêts dans la mondialisation: de la tentation de l’accaparement à la diversification des modèles, Demeter, 12, 2012, 99-108.
In article      View Article
 
[30]  Malhi Y. et al., African rainforests: past, present and future, Philos.Trans. R. Soc. London Ser. B, 368(1625), 20120312, 2013.
In article      View Article
 
[31]  Tietenberg Tom, Lewis Lynne, Economie de l’environnement et développement durable, Paris, 6e Edition, Pearson, 2013, 390.
In article      
 
[32]  Carpe, Les forêts du bassin du Congo, évaluation préliminaire, 2005, http://carpe.umd.edu/Documents/2005/focb_aprelimassess_fr.pdf.
In article      View Article
 
[33]  White A., Khare A. and Molnar A. Transitions in forest tenure and governance: Drivers, projected patterns and implications, Rights and Resources Group, 2007.
In article      
 
[34]  Mackenzie C., Forest governance in Zambézia, Mozambique: Chinese take away! Final report for Fongza. 2006.
In article      
 
[35]  White A., Sun Xiufang, Xu Jintao, Canby K., Barr C., Katisgris E., Bull G., Cossalter C., and Nilsson S. China and the global market for forest products: China-Africa trade, transforming trade to benefit forests and livelihoods, Forest Trends, 2006.
In article      
 
[36]  Auzel P., Nguenang G. M., Feteké R., and Delvingt W., L’exploitation forestière artisanale des forêts communautaires au Cameroun : vers des compromis écologiquement plus durables et socialement plus acceptable, Réseau de Foresterie pour le Développement Rural, document du réseau, 2001.
In article      
 
[37]  Isso Mama Patrick, La famille vu d’Afrique : Réinventer le sens de la fécondité, Published by jeunescathos, 2015, http://blog.jeunes-cathos.fr/2015/10/13/la-famille-vu-dafrique-reinventer-le-sens-de-la-fecondite/
In article      View Article
 
[38]  Archives de Radio-Canada, 1987, http://archives.radio-canada.ca/sante/sante_publique/clips/12942/.
In article      View Article
 
[39]  Mbaye Sanou, L'Afrique au secours de l'Afrique, De l'Atelier, 2010.
In article      View Article
 
[40]  Ehrlich P. R. and Ehrlich A. H., The population explosion, New York: Simon and Schster, 1990, 37-40.
In article      View Article
 
[41]  Cruse Guillaume, La prise en compte de l'environnement comme facteur de développement, Tiers-Monde, tome 35, n 137. Après le Sommet de la Terre: Débats sur le développement durable, 1994, 151-167.
In article      View Article
 
[42]  Greenpeace, Les forêts: trois impacts majeurs sur le climat, 2015, http://forets.greenpeace.fr/les-forets-trois-impacts-majeurs-sur-le-climat.
In article      View Article