20.03.2020. The United Nations proclaimed 21 March International Day of Forests and this year shines a light on Forests and Biodiversity. INTERHOLCO offers Sustainable Hardwood 'Made in Africa' as a solution to not only promote better living conditions (construction with wood), but also to reduce climate change, increase social justice and keep forests protected from permanent change to agriculture.
High Conservation Values
Through its subsidiary IFO (Industrie Forestière de Ouesso) that manages the largest contiguous FSC-certified forest in Central Africa, INTERHOLCO seeks to maintain, enhance and promote the importance of 'high conservation values,' or HCVs. These are biological, ecological, social or cultural values of outstanding significance, from animal and plant species to sacred sites and traditional uses of trees and vegetation.
A key part of HCVs is ensuring activity in forests does not have a negative impact on biodiversity – that is, the diversity within and between species, and the ecosystem as a whole, including forests. For an FSC-certified company, maintaining and implementing management of biodiversity and HCVs goes hand in hand.
Gorillas and Elephants in Congo Thrive In A Sustainably Managed Forest
In the IFO forest, located in the Republic of Congo, there is a stronghold for 70’000 Western lowland gorillas and thousands of forest elephants. IFO’s forest teams only remove one tree every two hectares – the equivalent of two football pitches – on average. The concession is divided into 30 different areas, and only one of these areas gets harvested annually to let other sections of forest regenerate for 30 years.
Additionally, 27 per cent of the total forest surface is set aside permanently to preserve the trees, providing valuable resources for local populations – including local Indigenous Peoples – and providing shelters where there is a high concentration of animals and rare plant species.
All these measures have proved to be positive for the conservation of gorillas. In turn, gorillas who are big fruit eaters, contribute to forest regeneration by spreading seeds across the rainforest.
An Alliance With The Forest And People
Certified forest concessions under FSC are also required to maintain a constant dialogue with local communities to help protect their interests, keep them informed of the company’s harvest activities and to some extent, provide jobs. Through ongoing dialogue with 6’000 forest dwellers, IFO forges an alliance between the forest and people, sensitising forest inhabitants about the benefits of managing forests sustainably and preserving their flora and wildlife.
The growth in elephant and gorilla population tends to prove that contrary to common belief, forest harvesting can coexist with respect of natural habitat, with animals still feeling safe in an area now twice the size of Belgium (In New Documentary, Sustainable Forestry Sees Gorillas in Congo Thrive | Forest Stewardship Council, 2019).
INTERHOLCO offers Sustainable Hardwood 'Made in Africa' as a responsible solution to promote better living conditions (construction with wood), reduce climate change, and increase social justice. As FSC-certified producer specialized in producing and trading logs, sawn timber, glued laminated scantlings and other products, INTERHOLCO manages the entire chain, from forest to customers since 1962. Harvesting wood selectively, INTERHOLCO protects 1.1 million hectares of natural forest from permanent conversion to agricultural land, giving 16’000 local inhabitants access to quality basic services and keeping the habitat of thousands of gorillas and elephants.
Communications contact INTERHOLCO
Tullia Baldassarri Höger von Högersthal
INTERHOLCO AG, Schutzengelstr. 36, 6340 Baar, Switzerland
Tel.: +41 (0)41 767 03 82