In the forests of Precious Woods, the fauna and flora live in their original habitat thanks to gentle and sustainable management. Hundreds of tree species share the forest in Gabon with large populations of various protected large mammals such as elephants, gorillas, and chimpanzees. Research has shown that sustainable, certified forest management has no negative impact on these populations.
Access control and constant patrolling by our own teams in cooperation with public agencies and NGOs make our forests safe havens for these species. In Gabon, for example, more than 25 000 km are patrolled every year on foot, by canoe, or by car to guarantee the protection of these rare species.
For the sustainable protection of this unique flora and fauna, it is necessary to manage the forests gently and with foresight. All the important botanical and topographical information is collected systematically and according to scientific criteria. Every tree with a diameter of at least 50 centimetres – in some cases even 20 centimetres – is identified, marked, and recorded. The maximum permissible, legally binding harvesting quota is derived from this data and is then recorded in an official document and approved.
Only this extensive documentation makes optimal planning of the gentle harvesting process possible. It also forms the basis for the creation of protection zones, the construction of roads and skid trails (unpaved forestry roads for the transport of trees out of the forest), for production and sales, and lastly for the >scientific research of our forests.
The targeted felling of individual trees causes hardly any damage to neighbouring trees and young growth, and the trunks used are not injured. This keeps the opening in the canopy small, and it is closed again in a short time thanks to incident light. After felling, the logs are pulled to the closest skid trail with machines and steel ropes using a method that protects the soil. From there, they are transported with lighter machines to the nearest collection point, preserving the forest soil in the best possible way.
With a harvest cycle of 35 years, Precious Woods in Brazil currently harvests a maximum of 15 to 20 cubic metres of logs per hectare. In Gabon, with a harvest cycle of 25 years, the harvest is even less than 15 cubic metres. This is despite the fact that tree growth and legal requirements would allow a harvest of 30 cubic metres of logs per hectare in each cycle.
High conservation value (HCV) areas are an integral component of the major certification schemes. HCV areas have a very high level of biodiversity, in which large populations of indigenous animal species live or which constitute rare and fragile ecosystems. HCV areas also include zones that are important for the local population, for example as a source of food. If places have a religious or social significance or are part of the national or international heritage, they are likewise protected integrally as HCV areas. In our forests in Brazil and Gabon, 70 300 ha have been identified as HCV areas and excluded from use. This corresponds to 6% of the entire area under our management.
Other areas – such as all watercourses and their banks – are likewise protected as environmentally valuable zones and remain under permanent protection. With these protection zones and the HCV areas, an entire network of protected areas runs through all of Precious Woods’ forest area. At Precious Woods Amazon, for example, these reserves make up about 25% of the total forest area and also serve our partners for >research purposes.