Three of Cameroon’s leading tropical hardwood producers have become the first in the region to apply for membership in the Central Africa Forest & Trade Network (CAFTN), part of WWF‘s Global & Forest Trade Network.

Pallisco, Decolvenaere and Transformation Reef Cameroon will now undergo independent audits of their operations and prepare action plans to achieve credible certification for their forest concessions and phase out the purchase of wood from unsustainable sources.

The three companies together manage more than half a million ha of forest concessions, including forests with high conservation values. They export around 120,000m3 of sawn timber to European markets, mainly to France, Spain, the Netherlands and the UK, accounting for around 20% of EU imports from Cameroon.

Paul Reef, administrator at Transformation Reef Cameroon, said his company hopes to be able to supply FSC-certified timber by the end of 2006.

WWF International director-general Claude Martin said the private sector can join in the venture by achieving credible certification in the forest concessions they manage and ensuring no wood from illegal or unsustainable sources enters their supply chain.

Through the CAFTN, WWF offers timber producers committed to responsible forestry advice, information, technical support, market recognition and direct links to responsible buyers who are also GFTN members.