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The "sticks" timber industry in Kisangani and Bumba (Democratic Republic of Congo): from the survival of actors to peri-urban forest threats

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Authors: Justin Kyale Koy, Kimoni Kicha, Rosette Ibofa, Bénie Yalanga, Michel Gala Kamanda and Gabriel Tagba Munzonzo

DR Congo - 2017

Language: French


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The timber sector of the so-called sticks or perch has been highly developed in Kisangani and Bumba for many decades. It currently has a large value chain of several categories of actors whose income depend on the level of intervention. However, this sector is evolving fast without a specific legal basis. Over-exploitation of perch greatly affects peri-urban forests and those in expanding rural areas. As a result, the sector will be confronted in the future with a degraded forest and concerns are raised about the sustainable management of forests. The purpose of this study is to identify the organization of this sector in Kisangani and Bumba.

Using triangulation of data sources (semi-structured interview, disengaged direct observation, focus group, interviews with resource persons, inventory and constitution of herbaria), the results obtained show a sector involving public and private actors. The demand for perch is explained by several factors including the low financial costs, the lack of financial resources, the adaptation to the type of infrastructure and speed in the implementation of the infrastructure. Exploited species present dualities in terms of socio-economic functions that are beneficial to local communities. The choice of species by the users is related to the size, the quality of the wood and the type of work. The sector generates impacts on forest ecosystems. This is manifested through the scarcity or remoteness of perch in forests close to the study sites, the diversity of species and families exploited, harvesting in different types of forests, the enormous amount of harvesting and the non-selective felling of trees. The poverty of the urban and rural masses and the lack of jobs are all factors that cement the actors in this activity. The solution for a sustainable exploitation and management of this sector could come from the synergy between the state and development partners in the implementation of actions directed to the regulation of the sector, poverty reduction, implementation of forest plantations of the requested species and the multi-axis management of the actors.  

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