Every year, as part of their training, students from Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech (GxABT) and ERAIFT have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the forests of Africa. This time, it's the forests of Cameroon.
For three weeks, mostly spent in the concession managed by Pallisco, an FSC-certified company, seven students from GxABT's "Management of forests and natural areas" master's program, eight students from ERAIFT's "Forest management techniques" master's program and ten Pallisco staff members had the opportunity to exchange knowledge and skills.
The courses given by Prof. JL. Doucet and Dr. S. Lhoest covered a wide range of disciplines: forest management, forest certification, low-impact logging, tropical botany and agroforestry. Pallisco executives were able to explain their professions, and numerous field visits enabled participants to understand all the stages of sustainable forest management, from resource inventory to wood processing, including large-scale wildlife management and the involvement of indigenous peoples.
Particular focus was placed on current projects within the forestry company. In particular, students were able to take part in the plantations run by the UFA- Reforest project, and discover the methods deployed by the "RESSAC" applied research projects on the ecology of commercial species seedlings and the carbon and financial balance of plantations. Several DYNAFAC network partners explained their work (ATIBT, ULB, Yaoundé I, ENSET-Université de Douala, Nature +).
The training ended in Yaoundé with a series of conferences involving several key players in forest management, including MINFOF, the EU, Eureka Géo, Nature +, PPECF and CBI.
In addition to the knowledge acquired, this training was a unique opportunity for students and professionals from seven different countries to compare their points of view on subjects that extend far beyond forest management. An extremely enriching human experience, according to everyone involved!