To FSC-certified forest owners or concession holders, the collaboration with local forest communities is essential. FSC certification means that local communities must benefit from the forest and this plays out in different ways around the world.
The local community of the CEB concession in Gabon is made up of the Bakotas, a Bantu ethnic group, traditionally depending on the forest and its benefits. As a part of the responsibilities of the FSC-certified company, the community receives a percentage of the income from the surrounding forest, and have access to schools, forest- or sawmill-work, and medical care.
As an example, in one of the forest communities, the income from the FSC-certified activities was used to start a small plantation growing bananas, small coffee plants and cacao.
The plantation is still young, and the hope for the future is for the plantation to be a food source for the whole community as well as a possible source of extra income in the long run. With FSC, free, prior, and informed consent applies, meaning that logging has to take place with the full and informed consent of local communities before it begins.