Forests to the foreigners: Large-scale land acquisitions in Gabon

Authors: Danielle D. Legault and Logan Cochrane
Published: 2021
Source: Land

For the past decade, the land rush discourse has analyzed foreign investment in land and agriculture around the world, with Africa being a continent of particular focus due to the scale of acquisitions that have taken place. Gabon, a largely forested state in Central Africa, has been neglected in the land rush conversations, despite having over half of its land allocated to forestry, agriculture, and mining concessions. This paper, which draws extensively on Land Matrix data, aims to fill this critical knowledge gap.

The paper situates Gabon’s historic relationship with land, establishing the intrinsic relationship between colonial land tenure systems and present-day land rights. The findings analyze the macro context of investors and investments, as well as the impacts related to rural–urban linkages and infrastructure development into the forests, civil society, human–environment relationships, and certification programs. While challenges continue to be experienced, the promise of Gabon’s first national land use plan—the use of sustainable concessions and mandatory forestry certification—offers a unique opportunity for Gabon to transition towards a future that better benefits its population while also protecting its natural resources. View Full-Text

(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Rush in Africa)

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