CIFOR: The domestic market for small-scale chainsaw milling in the Democratic Republic of Congo – Status, opportunities and challenges


Authors: Guillaume Lescuyer - Paolo Omar Cerutti -  Pitchou Tshimpanga -  François Biloko -  Bernard Adebu-Abdala  - Raphaël Tsanga -  Régis Ismael Yembe-Yembe -  Edouard Essiane-Mendoula


 The domestic markets of Kinshasa and Eastern DRC which we surveyed provide a turnover in excess of USD 100 million per year and gains estimated at USD 25 million, not including profits derived from indirect activities. In the survey study areas, the small scale chainsaw milling sector generates USD 111million in net annual income which is shared among four categories of stakeholders


An excerpt of the Summary


There has been strong controversy in recent years around the DRC’s small scale chainsaw milling sector, which is viewed as a massive logging permits deviation scheme conducted by industrial operators, especially in the Bandundu province. However, another phenomenon existing alongside these illegal practices is the individual chainsaw milling sector which supplies sawn products to domestic markets and some neighbouring countries. The sector mostly operates informally due to legal loopholes and also thanks to a dubious Small Scale Logging Permit (PCA) delivery system, which is most prominent in the Eastern province.

To better analyze the scope of this activity, annual monitoring was conducted on the one hand, in the Kinshasa and Kisangani markets and on the other hand at main passage points of wood at the entrances and exits  of the cities of Kinshasa, Kisangani and six cities in Eastern DRC.  Furthermore, 22 territories were visited, in which 477 millers were interviewed on the conduct of their operations and their relationships with other stakeholders in the sector.

 The surveys revealed a considerable boom in chainsaw milling in the DRC over the last fifteen years. Currently, more than one million cubic metres of small scale sawn wood are produced in the DRC, including 85% targeting national demand as shown in the graph below. The diagram equally shows the share (close to 112,000 cubic metres) exported to neighbouring countries.

The output of Equivalent round wood from small scale chainsaw milling- estimated at 3.4million m3 per year- is thirteen times higher than the volume produced by the formal wood products sector in the DRC, assuming official figures are reliable. Similarly, there are currently ten times as many small scale chainsaw milling operations as their industrial counterparts (including sawnwood exports and industrial scraps consumed in Kinshasa). Current estimates of small scale sawnwood output volumes are twice higher than levels recorded twenty years ago. This is attributable both to urban population growth and a relative increase in purchasing power of some urban classes.


Please download the report below: CIFOR: Le marché domestique du sciage artisanal en République démocratique du Congo - État des lieux, opportunités, défis



 Image credits: CIFOR


Go back


CITES-“Sustaining all life on Earth” announced as theme of World Wildlife Day 2020

The Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) announced today the theme of United Nations World Wildlife Day 2020: “Sustaining all life on Earth”. The year 2020, known as a “biodiversity super year”, will host several major global events that place biodiversity at the forefront of the global sustainable development agenda.

Read more …

Forests play a key role in tackling climate change

This briefing note from Coordination SUD and Fern analyses the issues we need to address to ensure forests help deliver tropical forested countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). This includes respect for communities’ rights and preserving their livelihoods, protecting and restoring biodiversity, and improved forest governance. Tackling these challenges will require effective civil society participation.

Read more …

Cbd-Zero Draft of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework published by the Secretariat

The Open-Ended Working Group on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework has been tasked with advancing preparations for the development of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework. It is expected that this process will culminate in the adoption of a post-2020 global biodiversity framework by the Conference of the Parties to the CBD, at the UN Biodiversity Conference in 2020 in Kunming, China as a stepping stone towards achieving the 2050 Vision of “Living in harmony with nature".

Read more …

Ecozona-The Screaming Forest: An Ecocritical Assessment of Le Cri de la forêt

From a postcolonial ecocritical standpoint, this essay analyzes the play Le Cri de la forêt (2015) co-authored by Henri Djombo, a cabinet minister from Congo-Brazzaville, and Osée Colin Koagne, a stage director and environmental activist from Francophone Cameroon. Mindful of the rich biodiversity of the Congo Basin where the playwrights originate, the essay interrogates why the forest in the play is screaming and moves on to engage with related ecological questions such as the scapegoating of witchcraft and doubtful traditional beliefs amidst climate change.

Read more …

FERN: Five EU forest trends to watch out for in 2020 & Save the Date - February 2020 (Brussels)

In 2019, forests and forest peoples’ rights rose up the global political – and spiritual - agenda, and the EU made high profile commitments to protect forests abroad and at home as part of their European Green Deal.  But will 2020 see such commitments turned into action? Here are five questions we hope to give positive answers to at the end of the year...

Read more …

Overview and analyses of key national policies, strategies and action plans relevant to deforestation, child and forced labour, and smallholder inclusion in Cameroon

The overarching objective of this study is to identify laws and policies on deforestation, child labour, force labour and smallholder inclusion in Cameroon, and analyze how these policies support the private sector to align with the sustainable production of timber, palm oil, cocoa and rubber. This review clearly demonstrates that both government and private sector can achieve targets of curbing deforestation and ensuring effective respect of human rights along the supply chains of the selected commodities.

Read more …

Statement on the situation of wildlife in the Congo Basin (and in Cameroon in particular) - Resolving Conservation Conflicts in West/Central African Protected Areas

The statement is the outcome of a meeting of various CBFP partners at the Congo Basin Institute in Yaounde:  ...We are a group of scientists, including faculty members from respected universities in Cameroon and abroad, representatives of protected areas management units, law enforcement organisations (LAGA), rangers, and international organisations (TRAFFIC, WWF). In October 2019, we met in Yaoundé to assess the current status of conservation in the country and discuss ways forward to solve what we consider to be a conservation crisis...

Read more …

Final Communiqué of the Experts’ Meeting to Follow up on the N’Djamena Conference on The Sahel-Congo Basin Roadmap on the Operational Implementation of the N'Djamena Declaration Synthesis

The Kingdom of Belgium Facilitation of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP), in close collaboration with the Central African Forest Commission (COMIFAC) and the Government of the Republic of Cameroon, hosted from 16 to 17 December 2019 in Douala, Cameroon, the Experts’ Meeting for the follow up of the International conference on Security, Poaching, Transhumance Management and the Movements of Armed Groups between the Sahel and Equatorial Africa.

Read more …

CBFP News Archive