Forest management plans to preserve forest resources in Rougier concessions.

Forest management plans to preserve forest resources in Rougier concessions.

Once approved by the concerned authorities, the forest management plan for a concession entails a number of commitments for the company over a substantial period of time (generally 30 years). It therefore needs to be thoroughly prepared following a long and complex process based on a rigorous scientific approach and broad and continuous consultation.


Forest management plan studies and preparation

1 - Forest mapping

Preliminary forest cartography is elaborated from satellite imagery, existing maps and aerial photos, describing plant formations and topography.

2 - Forest management planning inventory

The forest management planning inventory is performed on both sides of a series of straight lines, allowing the survey of 0.5% to 1.5% of the total surface area. It will assess:

  • Available timber resources in a long-term perspective, their distribution in the concerned area and their evolution in time. It covers the whole logging zone. All trees above 10 cm in diameter are thus identified, whether or not they are considered marketable species.
  • wildlife and hunting: assessment of the environmental situation in terms of wildlife, rare or endangered species is carried out.
  • non-timber forest products of social interest: fruit from certain trees, etc.

These data are collected, processed and analysed via software developed for this purpose, combined with a geographic information system (GIS) and shown on maps.

3 - Socio-economic analysis

The socio-economic analysis concerns local populations living in or on the outskirts of the forest concession and workers and residents on logging sites. It assesses the situation in terms of health and living conditions, food supplies, pressure on forest ecosystems, worker's safety and on the whole, various social expectations. 

Writing the forest management plan

This is the planning for timber harvesting and all harvesting related operations on the forest concession for the decades to come. The concession is divided into "zones" or series, according to a set of specific objectives: conservation series - forest areas which will not be operated but made into forest protected areas, agricultural series and timber harvesting series. These latter are divided into Forest management Units (FMU - corresponding to 5 years of harvesting or so).  Operating schedules during the period of rotation are set out in such a way as to maintain a more or less constant annual production in terms of volumes and species. For each species, a Minimum Cutting Diameter (MCD) set out by the forest management plan is calculated in order to ensure sufficient forest regrowth during the rotation period and to create favourable conditions for its regeneration.

The plan also includes :

  • A section on wildlife management: the pressure from hunting and poaching is assessed in order to elaborate and implement pragmatic solutions.
  • A socio-economic section: this section aims to improve the integration of workers and villagers in their socio-economic environment.

Through the form of partnerships, national and international NGOs and research bodies assist in the implementation of the measures in the social and biodiversity programme, notably concerning wildlife management.

The forest management plan is then submitted to forestry authorities for negotiation and approval.

Implementing the forest management plan

The forest management plan has a substantial impact on logging methods and its implementation requires constant support and training of all staff.

1. Reduced Impact Logging

New logging methods are implemented: improved activity planning, reducing surface areas operated by machines, computer-based optimisation of forest track construction for entering the work area and for hauling and skidding, application of controlled felling methods, reducing erosion and pollution, etc.

2 - Timber inventory

A comprehensive survey of harvesting is now performed on the entire Annual Allowable Cut; it replaces traditional counting methods. One year before harvest, all trees eligible for felling (according to authorised diameter and species) are identified, measured, positioned and mapped on the Geographic Information System. This allows for future operations to be meticulously organised and monitored, for the optimisation of forest tracks used by machinery and individual log monitoring throughout the entire production chain. The Annual Operations Plan is thus elaborated for each Annual Allowable Cut. 

3. Monitoring and controlling the implementation of the forest management plan

The application of each management document is assessed according to predefined procedures. Controls are carried out in the field, both internally and by forestry authorities. A detailed operations result is drawn up for each harvested AAC before closure.