Timber harvesting activities
Concessions are initially issued by means of a Provisional logging agreement (Convention provisoire d’exploitation). This agreement has a maximum duration of three years and is not renewable. Within three years following the signing of the provisional logging agreement, the concessionaire is required to carry out certain works, including the completion of a multi-resource inventory and the preparation of a management plan. The proper fulfilment of these obligations leads to the issuance by the Minister in charge of forests (MINFOF) of a certificate of compliance with the clauses of the provisional logging agreement. In this case, the holder of the said agreement can apply for the attribution of a definitive logging agreement (Convention définitive d’exploitation), valid for 15 years and renewable once. The definitive logging agreement is granted in the form of a forest concession, by decree of the Prime Minister, Head of Government. The management plan is the planning schedule for technical interventions designed to ensure the sustainable management of the various resources on the relevant surface area. It is drawn up for 30 years and is revised every five years. This long-term management plan must be approved by the MINFOF. The management plan divides the area into various zones, including conservation and production. The latter is divided into 6 five-year equal-volume management units, which are in turn divided into 5 Annual Allowable Cuts (Assiette Annuelle de Coupe - AAC). In total, the FMU is divided into 30 AACs.
Before commencing harvest an annual operating plan is prepared by the company for the Annual Allowable Cuts area (AAC), which is, together with a set of other documents, submitted to the Directorate of Forests for verification and approval. After approval, the central authorities (Directorate of Forests) issue an Annual Allowable Cut Certificate (certificat annuel d’assiette de coupe) for FMUs with provisional agreements, or an Annual Operating Permit (Permis Annuel d’Opérations) for FMUs with a validated management plan) or a Certificate of Sale of a Standing Volume (Certificat de vente de coupe - for sales of trees to be harvested) specifying the details of the authorised harvest, including the volume and the species. In addition, the concessionaire must request and obtain a Notification of commencement of activities from the regional forestry delegation.
Regarding the community forests (CF - forêts communautaires), they are transferred by the State to a community at the request of the latter (through a constituted association) and after the drafting of a Basic Management Plan (PSG - Plan Simple de Gestion), which manages it following the signature of a management agreement (convention de gestion) between this village community association and the administration in charge of forests. The management of this forest (which must not exceed 5,000 ha) is the responsibility of the community, with technical assistance provided by the forest administration. The rotation period in a CF is 25 years, the duration of the management agreement signed between the community and the forest administration.
In order to be able to operate their CF, the communities must obtain an Annual Logging Certificate (CAE - Certificat Annuel d’Exploitation) from the Directorate of Forests on the basis of an annual activity plan and after submission of various documents (a report on the verification of the materialisation of the boundaries of the annual plot, a certificate of verification of the materialisation of these boundaries, a certificate of appraisal of the logging inventory report, and a certificate of conformity of the logging inventory report).
Harvested logs need to be recorded in a log production report (Carnet de chantier - DF10) for the specific forest management unit (UFA) and harvest block (AAC) the species, log dimensions and the corresponding barcode on a daily basis. This report needs to be signed off by the authorities, who use it for determination of harvest tax.