Forests and the forestry sector
Gabon has a total area of 28 million hectares, and it is estimated that forests cover 17 to 21 million hectares (60 to 80 percent). According to FAO estimates, annual deforestation between 1990 and 2000 was 10 000 ha. Gabon¿s tropical forests are part of the Congo Basin system, the second largest in the world after that of the Amazon Basin. This forest ecosystem is known for the wealth of its biodiversity and as a major carbon sink, storing between 0.94 and 5.24 billion tonnes of carbon.
Products and trade
The forestry sector contributed 2.5 percent to Gabon¿s gross national product in 1998, with okoume (Aucoumea klaineana) accounting for more than two-thirds of felled wood. Timber exports in 1996 generated 203 billion CFA francs (US$301 million at the January 2000 rate of exchange). Okoume exports account for about 71 percent of total forest revenue.
In order to reduce the country¿s huge economic dependency on petroleum, which represented 58 percent of State revenue until 1998, the Government of Gabon has been diversifying its economy by boosting earnings generated by renewable resources. The forest-environment sector, which is the second earner of national revenue, has been identified as an alternative for sustainable development.
Last updated: March 2004