Gateway to international timbertrade

Central African Republic

Forest resources

According to the FAO (2015) the Central African Republic has around 22.2 million hectares of forested land, which constitutes to 35.6% of the total land area. Almost all forests are primary or otherwise naturally regenerated forests, and only 2 thousand hectares are planted forests. The forests of the CAR can be distinguished in the dense humid rainforest in the south and north of these forests a dryer transition zone between forest and savannah. According Protected Planet significant part of the country has been defined as protected area, but the protected areas mostly comprise savannah and dry shrub area. Only about 560 000 hectares are forested protected areas (ITTO, 2011), which are located in the far south of the country. Almost the whole forest area (98.9%) belongs to the state.

Production and export

According to ITTO (2015) the industry of the Central African Republic produced in 2014 about 650 thousand m3 of logs. Timber exports are primarily based on the export of logs and to a lesser extent on the export of sawnwood, accounting for a total export value of 59.3 million US dollars in 2014.

The timber industry of the CAR is relatively small, but still accounts for 40% of the country’s export earnings. Due to the landlocked location of the CAR and the relatively poor transportation infrastructure the costs to export material are relatively high. Transport of timber via road to Cameroon or by river and rail to Pointe Noire in the Republic of the Congo is costly, and consequently there is an incentive to process materials in the country instead of exporting them.

Of the 300 potential timber species found in the closed forest area, only 34 are typically harvested. The five most harvested species produced 85% of all timber production between 2005 and 2008. These five species include: Sapelli (Entandrophragma cylindricum), Ayous (Triplochiton scleroxylon), Aniegré (Aningeria spp.), Sipo (Entandrophragma utile) and Iroko (Milicia excelsa). Other species increasingly harvested are: Kossipo (Entandrophragma candollei), Bossé (Guarea cedrata), Tiama (Entandrophragma angolense), Padouk (Pterocarpus spp.) and Dibétou (Lovoa trichilioides).

Sources of information

Legality framework

Official authorization for logging must be obtained from the services of the Ministry of Water, Forests, Hunting and Fishing (Ministère des Eaux, Forêts, Chasse et Pêche – MEFCP). Logging operations take place in the production forests and cutting areas, and may be conducted by individual artisanal loggers or concessionaires. To log, artisanal loggers must obtain a one year renewable permit (permis artisanal) and their operation areas should not exceed 10 hectares. This permit is awarded mainly to CAR citizens.

Concessionaires must hold a Forest Management Permit (Permis d’Exploitation et d’Aménagement - PEA) and need to have an approved management plan. The PEA has a validity of 30 years and the forest area should be divided into annual harvesting blocks (Assiettes Annuelles de Coupe). In order to obtain a PEA the applicant needs first a Provisional Agreement (Convention Provisoire d’Aménagement - CPA) available for 3 years and on 3 provisional cutting areas, allowing the company to launch inventories to achieve in 3 years its land-use plan including the forest management plan of all the annual harvesting blocks.

Before commencing harvest an Annual Operating Plan (PAO) is prepared by the company for the annual block of harvest, which is submitted to the Department for Forestry Inventory and Land-use (DIAF) for verification and approval. After approval the DIAF issues a logging permit specifying the details of the allowed harvest, including volume and species.

Selected trees are felled and both the stumps and the logs are marked with the operator’s unique and registered hammer mark. Harvesting data are recorded on a worksite record, and timber movement documents are prepared which need to correspond with the worksite record, including log numbers according to the Code Forestier. These records have to be submitted on monthly basis to the Directorate of forests in order to calculate taxes and forest statistics. Log transportation documents are completed prior to departure from harvesting sites and are retained throughout transportation.

To allow an appropriate calculation of their tax rates companies should submit a monthly report highlighting the volume of timber harvested and processed to the forest administration and BIVAC (Bureau Inspection Valuation Assessment Control).

The processing facility receiving the logs needs to operate under a Permis d’Exploitation et d’Aménagement (PEA). The log numbers will be recorded on a production report as well as the bundle details of the produced sawn timber.

Every company exporting timber must have a valid Certificat d’Origine from the Direction des Forêts prior to export of timber products. Currently, only companies holding a PEA are allowed to export, meaning that all of them are working on an almost complete chain of custody from the tree in the annual harvesting block to the port of Douala.

Key documents

The below listed key documents are based on the applicable legislation and are considered to play a key role in demonstrating legal origin.

Harvesting

Convention Provisoire d’Aménagement
Ministre des Eaux, Forêts, Chasse et Pêche - Direction des Forêts
Provisional authorisation available for 3 years and on 3 provisional cutting areas, allowing the company to launch inventories to achieve in 3 years its land-use plan including the forest management plan of all the annual harvesting blocks.
Approbation du Plan Annuel d’Opération
Ministre des Eaux, Forêts, Chasse et Pêche -Direction des Forêts
Demonstrates that the annual operational plan for the harvest block of the corresponding year was submitted and approved by the authorities. This document has an approved management plan as a basis.
Autorisation Annuelle de Coupe
Department for Forestry Inventory and Land-use (DIAF)
The logging company must hold an annual harvesting licence authorising the harvesting activity
Carnet de chantier
Log production report prepared by the company following the specified format of the authorities.
Lettre de voiture ou feuille de route
Timber movement declarations are prepared on official forms by the logging company and submitted to the authorities for verification and approval.
Invoice
Prepared by the selling company covering the specific batch.

Trade and export

Permis d’Exploitation et d’Aménagement (PEA)
Ministre des Eaux, Forêts, Chasse et Pêche - Direction des Forêts
All companies involved in timber processing must hold a valid permit
Attestation de régularité fiscale
Direction générale des Impôts et des domains
This document confirms that the organization has fulfilled its tax obligations of the last year.
Bordereau de Specification Sciage
Transport document for sawn timber prepared by the selling company.
Invoice
Prepared by the selling company covering the specific batch.
Certificat d’Origine
Direction des Forêts
Certificate of origin for the export of a specific timber batch
Attestation de Vérification Export
BIVAC RCA
Certificate of Checking Export

Bans and quota

There are no specific bans or limitations on the export of timber from the Central African Republic.

Cites and protected spieces

The is one tree species from the Central African Republic listed on CITES Appendix II:

  • Afrormosia (Pericopsis elata). This CITES listing applies to logs, sawn wood and veneer sheets.

National action on timber legality

The Central African Republic and the EU entered into negotiations for a voluntary partnership agreement in October 2009. The Agreement was signed in November 2011, and ratified in July 2012. The Central African Republic is developing a legality assurance system to control, verify and license legal timber. This will be used for timber and timber products exported to the EU and to other destinations worldwide, as well as within the domestic market (EFI). The backbone of the LAS architecture is the Central Inspectorate of Water and Forests (ICEF).

 

Third party certification

The Central African Republic currently has no certified forests. There has been a OLB certificate in the country covering 195 500 hectares, but this certificate has been terminated.

Contacts

Ministère des Eaux, Forêts, Chasse et Pêche (MEFCP)
Direction générale des eaux, forêts, chasses et pêches
Mr. Luc Dimanche
Coordonnateur National
B.P 830
Bangui, Central African Republic
Tel: + 236 610216
General directorate of the ministry governing the management and control of the country’s forests. A department of this directorate is responsible for the promotion of exploitation of certified forests.
Bureau Veritas Bangui
Rue Mobutu
Angle de la rue de la Résistance
BP 2553
Bangui, Central African Republic
Tel: +236 216 13921
Certification body Bureau Veritas and its subsidiary BIVAC RCA, working closely with authorities, have developed a verification program for exported forest products guaranteeing the collection
of export duties.

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