Thus, the transformation of common pool resources into state and private property such as in Cameroon has often been socially unequal and ecologically unsustainable. Ecological historian Alf Hornborg (1998: 133) has defined three factors entering into any process of industrial accumulation: (1) the social institutions which regulate exchange; (2) the direction of net flows of energy and materials; and (3) the symbolic systems which ultimately define exchange values and. So far, we have discussed the first two factors: first, how a western-style property regime has become the official set of institutions legitimating and providing the colonial state and then the independent state the legal capacity to make claims over other peoples resources; and secondly. Later, we shall tackle inter alia the symbolic system the dominant language of valuation that imposes unjust monetary exchange values to the detriment of other value systems. 2.2 Socio-ecological costs.2.1 Impacts on local populations Logging companies consider the forest only in its economic dimension and their single objective is to maximize financial benefit. Their grab-it-and-run logic a good example of what early 20th-century european geographers called raubwirtschaft consists in extracting the maximum of rich timber species in very little time, without concern for sustainability. These practices are based on high discount rates, indicating an undervaluation of the future.
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2.1.3 Accumulation by dispossession The transition to capitalism has often been preceded by land appropriation by large private landowners and/or by the state, through different kinds of enclosure movements, physical as well as legal. The English version of this process was defined by polanyi (1944) thank as a revolution of the rich. In Cameroon, western law allowed the colonial administration to secure its access to natural resources by transforming customary common pool resources into state property. This phenomenon has led to an unequal repartition of property rights allowing capitalist accumulation through the dispossession of local communities (Harvey, 2003). A western-type property regime is indeed central in the functioning of capitalism itself by standardizing the economic system, by fixing the economic potential of resources in order to allow credit and selling contracts, and by protecting (by armed force if needed) property and transactions (Heinsohn. Today, the approach of standard economics still emphasizes the necessity to extend a western-type property system to all kind of goods and services in order to ensure growth and even sustainability. Surprisingly, such policies still frequently refer to hardins (1968) tragedy of the commons, which confuses regimes of open access with those of common property. According to hardin, private/state property would supposedly allow the conservation of natural resources due to the clear definition of rights and duties. However, this theory has been criticized (Ostrom, 1990). The important point is to achieve a correct match between institutions, and the cultural and biophysical environments. Indeed, anthropological studies have shown that societies have often developed institutions regulating access rights to natural resources and duties between the different community members in order to ensure the social functioning of the group and the management of natural resources (Berkes, 1999).
Firstly, as the government wants to attract direct foreign investments, it hesitates to be strict when companies commit even the most serious offences. Secondly, its capacity to monitor and enforce legislation is in any case minimal and limited both by corruption and structural adjustment policies, which have reduced the number of civil servants and their salaries. Thirdly, there is often a mutually beneficial relationship between political elites and foreign economic operators, involving the appropriation of wealth for both parties through bribery, corruption and transfer pricing at the expense of public benefit through lost revenues and royalty payments as well. The economic operators involved in timber production are obviously key stakeholders in Cameroons forest sector. Their objective is to maximize their financial benefits, which is easy to achieve in a corrupt country such as Cameroon. Since the colonization until now, almost all timber extracted in Cameroon is exported to europe and, since 2005, also to Asia. French entrepreneurs launched the three first important companies in Cameroon in 1949 and French companies continue to be key operators in Cameroon in logging activities as well as in plantations (Etoga eily, 1971; Obam, entry 1992). The logging and timber processing industry is highly concentrated, with more than 80 of national timber extraction being generated by fewer than 20 large, predominantly european, companies (Cerutti and Fomété, 2007). Recently, chinese operators have established themselves, either through the acquisition of European interests, or through acting as contractors for national interests (Karsenty and Debroux, 1997).
For the most part, the former colonial countries and their home-based transnational corporations remain essay in a key position for dictating the terms of shredder development and conservation in the region. Foreign creditors and donors have always been very active in the forest sector and their assistance programs are generally conceived with the (naïve) intention of promoting both economic growth as well as ecological and social sustainability of forest activities. Despite numerous improvements in forest sector brought by the reform process that started at the end of the 1980s, the impact of their goodwill has, however, been limited. For instance, the world Bank and the imf have persisted in supporting the development of the logging industry on the pretext of increasing state incomes but remaining apparently blind to the weakness of the same state cameroon was rated by Transparency International as perceived. Official discourse stresses the important contribution of the timber industry to national economic growth. Indeed, the state is a strategic actor in the management of Cameroonian forests, as it owns the forest and defines forestry policies and regulations. However, at the same time, it has an ambiguous power position for three main reasons.
These kinds of geopolitical relations are of importance for understanding institutional and economic change in French-speaking Africa but they are rarely mentioned by researchers (Agir Ici and Survie 2000; Survie 2006). Despite the resistance against the first post-colonial legislations, cameroons land tenure nationalism (Diaw, 2005) culminated with the 1974 law, still the basis of todays land regime. The colonial notion of vacant and ownerless land was taken up again to the benefit of the state and ambiguously recognized a limited space for customary institutions. In this process, forests were a major target, as securing bureaucratic control over forested land and timber constituted a critical ingredient in the mix of political-economic forces which historically shaped territorial nation-states across the globe (Neumann, 1997). 2.1.2 Todays macroeconomic actors in forest management It can be argued that Cameroon along with other countries in Equatorial Africa is still subject to a system of neo-colonialism, perpetuated by the former colonial powers, by foreign capital and by the ruling classes at the national. Germany, france and the United Kingdom all played a significant part in the colonial history of the country and remain influential partners on trade and macroeconomic policies. They are joined in their enterprise by other Northern governments, as well as by multilateral agencies, notably the world Bank and the International Monetary fund (IMF) in which they occupy strategic positions.
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These ancestral customs have been under threat since the beginning of the colonial period, when, in 1896, the german administration introduced written mtm norms using the questionable concept of vacant and ownerless lands. In this way, the colonial state was able to appropriate all land and resources through the transformation of common pool resources into state and private property. This process happened through a double movement: (1) the creation of rights for new actors: the colonial state and for private persons (physical or moral and (2) the considerable restriction of the populations access rights to land and resources. In fact, a given plot of customary land could only be claimed as property when its owner was able to prove its mise en valeur (economic profitability) through cultivated fields or constructions. However, as many anthropological studies have revealed, the customary land of Bantu forest societies goes beyond the cultivated or inhabited areas and encompasses large portions of forest that are collectively managed (Diaw, 1997; 1998; oyono, 2002; Bigombé logo, 2004). The problem was still more difficult for the indigenous Pygmy communities whose hunter-gatherer lifestyle has little impact on the forest cover and their presence on a given area was therefore difficult to establish (Abega, 1998). The large areas they covered in search of food and other resources were consequently declared vacant by the colonial administrations and taken under its control a practice that would be reinforced after independence (Nguiffo., 2008).
From 1960 onwards, independence was not at all characterised by a rupture in the philosophy of colonial law. This can be explained by the fact that the genuine independence movement was largely suppressed by the French army. Between 100,000 and 400,000 civilians sympathetic to the upc (the Union des Populations du cameroun the main nationalist movement) were killed and their socialist leader Ruben Um nyobé was assassinated by the French in 1958 (Survie, 2006). The only two cameroonian presidents since then have behaved as straw men of France, to take up the expression of the famous Cameroonian writer Mongo beti. The secret and sometimes bloody political-economic connections that continue today between France and Africa have been referred to as the Françafrique, and have been traced to 1960 under de gaulle. The term was coined in 1994 by French journalist writer's François-xavier Verschave who was a specialist on the phenomenon.
This phenomenon started with the arrival of the europeans: first tradesmen looking for slaves, then colonists imposing labour obligations, taxes, and extracting natural resources in favour of the metropolis (timber, plantations, oil and mining). Before that happened, it can be argued that local populations were not poor as they adapted to their surrounding natural wealth, usually without undermining. 1.2 The origins of timber exploitation From a macroeconomic viewpoint, the exploitation of timber started during German colonization; took off after Second World War ii, and intensified at the beginning of the 1990s. Timber thus became the second most important source of export income, after oil. The conflictive potential of the forest arises from the high profitability of its timber resources in a context of weak state control. This tends to drive loggers to act in contravention of their obligations, using corruption and other illegal practices, against the interests of the other forest users who complain accordingly.
The resulting degradation of the forest tends to impoverish local populations. This is why the concept of ecologically unequal exchange will be implicit in the discussion throughout the article. The notion refers to a typical feature of the cameroonian wood filière, or commodity chain, namely an extractive and export process characterized by the shift of negative environmental and social impacts onto forest communities and by the appropriation of wealth by northern industries. A central question of the paper is to what extent the flegt process is really able to change this situation or it is simply going to legalize it further. In order to better understand the situation, we start by briefly outlining the historical roots of the marginalization of forest communities. We then provide a discussion of power issues within the forest sector as well as an inventory of its impacts on local populations. After a brief analysis of the shortcomings of the measures that have been taken, especially the 1994 forest law, we focus on the most recent one the new flegt process before ending with some concluding remarks and recommendations. (Source: Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife and World Resources Institute, interactive forestry Atlas of Cameroon, version 2, yaounde, 2007) top. 2 mise en valeur and impacts.1 Power imbalance in extractive processes.1.1 The colonial legacy According to customary institutions, local communities whether Bantu or Pygmy have ownership rights over the land and the natural resources on which they depend for their daily survival.
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All of them traditionally live from hunting and gathering in territorial and remarkably egalitarian nomadic bands. However they are increasingly adopting a sedentary lifestyle (agriculture) under the apple writing influence of multiple factors, such as massive deforestation leading to the loss of resources essential for their biological and cultural survival. All of these peoples, to varying degrees, depend on forest resources for their livelihood. The forest represents a kind of huge free supermarket providing food, medicines, construction and equipment materials, as well as ceremonial elements. Their standard of living therefore closely depends on the quality of the forest. This access to natural resources and ecosystem services outside the market has been described sometimes with the words the gdp of the poor. Today, all these populations generally experience conditions of deep poverty, both in money terms and also in terms of direct access to resources.
1.1 The role of the forest The cameroonian forest covers an area of about 20 million hectares, which represents about 40 of the national territory. The importance of the forest is related to its multiple and sometimes conflicting uses and functions at local, national and global levels. From a conservation perspective, the forest constitutes a crucial reservoir of biodiversity, including many endemic species, and its contribution to climate regulation and other environmental services has now been established. Cameroonian forests are the home to nearly four app million persons belonging to bantu ethnic groups as well as to the last indigenous populations of the African rainforest, the so-called Pygmies. Forest Bantu societies practice shifting or rotational agriculture, each family producing what is necessary by cultivating itself the different crops. A family field typically has a surface.3.5 hectares and is exploited during two consecutive years before lying fallow during 3 to 10 years, sometimes much more. Trapping, fishing, and gathering still bring a large part of the food domestically consumed. While most Bantu are engaged in the production of cash crops, they often still lack health and education facilities, or basic infrastructure. There are also in Cameroon three large ethnic groups of indigenous Pygmy peoples: the baka, the bakola/Bagyeli and the bedzan.
unequal exchange is implicit everywhere in the present article. In our view, one way to achieve less unequal extractive processes is to resort to democratic deliberations participation. This can only take place within more balanced power relations, a fact that is a clear from the contribution of post-normal science as well as from the idea of conflicting valuation languages. Keywords: industrial logging, property rights, community forests, commodity chains, ecologically unequal exchange, cost shifting, corporate accountability, corruption, wood certification, fair trade, consumer blindness, languages of valuation, flegtvpa. 1 introduction, this article aims at providing a new reading of logging in southern Cameroon by using concepts taken from ecological economics and political ecology in order to stimulate a reflection that may foster a change. In particular, it focuses on the forest Law Enforcement, government and Trade (flegt) process aiming at developing a voluntary partnership Agreement (VPA) between the government of Cameroon and the european Union on the matter of legal timber trade. However, because this kind of processes tends to restrict the discussion to a limited number of aspects, we find it crucial not to forget the bigger picture if our aim is to better understand what is at stake and what kind of strategies or public. Accordingly, the paper provides a contextual overview of Cameroons logging situation especially power and local impact issues.
Law.1.1 Involvement modalities of local communities.1.2 Achieving sustainability: the illegality trap.1.3 Daily illegal practices.2 The flegt process.2.1 Origin and scope.2.2 Critical analysis of the flegt-cameroon 4 discussion: challenges ahead.1 Defining and managing legality.2 Verification and credibility.3 Participation 5 conclusions 6 references. Abstract, this paper provides an overview of Cameroons logging situation especially power issues, impacts on local populations, and the problem of illegality. The objective is to provide a new look at industrial logging in the region by using concepts taken from ecological economics and political ecology in order to stimulate a reflection that may foster a change. The article also focuses on legal devices supposedly aimed at mitigating negative impacts of logging activities such as the 1994 forestry law and the new Forest Law Enforcement, government and Trade (flegt) process launched by the european Union. A positive point of the flegt is that it offers an opportunity for civil society to try to improve the legal framework remote and its enforcement regulating the logging sector operating in Cameroon. However, its economic rationale remains that which prevailed during the colonization period and continues today, namely to extract timber from peripheral poor regions and to export it to europe. One of flegts major flaws is the presumption of the states respect for legality, and the entrusting to the state the monopoly of the verification process.
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Centre pour lEnvironnement et le développement, Friends of the earth International, cameroon. Author: Robinson Djeukam with the collaboration.-F. Download case study as pdf-file. Les concessions furent accordées dans lespoir que les compagnies «feraient valoir» le pays. Elles lont exploité, ce qui nest pas la même chose; saigné, pressuré comme une orange dont on va bientôt rejeter la peau vide. André gide, voyage au congo (1927). Abstract 1 introduction.1 The presentation role of the forest.2 The origins of timber exploitation 2 mise en valeur and impacts.1 Power imbalance in extractive processes.1.1 The colonial legacy.1.2 Todays macroeconomic actors in forest management.1.3 Accumulation by dispossession.2 Socio-ecological costs.2.1 Impacts on local populations.2.2 Conflicting languages of valuation.2.3 Unequal.