How responsible forest management helps wildlife thrive

Wild hogs gathered in high brown grass


Can managing forests more responsibly reap real results? A recent five-year study published in Nature found that forests in the Congo Basin where logging companies have Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) certification have more large and medium-sized mammals than nearby logging concessions without similar certification.

To carry out the study, which was led by Utrecht University and supported by WWF and the Wildlife Conservation Society, researchers set up nearly 500 camera traps in both FSC-certified forests and forests with traditional commercial logging.

By studying 1.3 million camera trap photographs of 55 mammal species in 14 logging concessions, researchers learned that certified operations harbor 2.7 times more large mammals such as gorillas and African forest elephants—and 2.5 times as many medium-sized animals like leopards and red river hogs.

They also found fewer signs of hunting in FSC-certified areas, which require concessions to protect biodiversity, prevent poaching, and respect the rights of local people.

“These results show that actions taken as part of FSC certification to safeguard wildlife in forest concessions are helping to protect critically endangered species,” says Linda Walker, a senior director on the WWF-US forest team.

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