Published 23 August 2010


Forests for the Future: IUFRO World Congress

Seoul, South Korea, 23rd August 2010—Today marks the start of Forests for the Future: Sustaining Society and the Environment, the 23rd International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) World Congress, which runs until Saturday in Seoul, South Korea. 

Banning the trade in wild meat and criminalizing the hunters and consumers has made the trade more difficult to control. © Nathalie van Vliet

The Congress focuses on several themes related to forest conservation, including Forests and climate change, Biodiversity conservation and sustainable use of forest resources, Forest environmental services, Asia’s forests for the future, Forest products and production processes for a greener future, Emerging technologies in the forest sector, Frontiers in forest and tree health, Forests, communities and cultures, and Forests and human health and environmental security. 

TRAFFIC is hosting a session on the wild meat trade in Central Africa entitled Bushmeat: Beyond the ecological crisis

Contemporary African societies are a mix of modernized, western society and traditional African roots. Those traditions mean that people—rural and urban—still consume bushmeat for reasons linked to culture, taste and attachment to healthy, natural products.

However, the scale of hunting occurring in Central Africa poses a threat to many tropical forest species. The response to this has typically been legal: ban the trade in bushmeat and criminalize the hunters and consumers.

“This has not been terribly effective,” says Nathalie Van Vliet, Bushmeat strategic advisor for TRAFFIC and workshop organizer. 

“The trade continues to flourish but in a hidden economy that makes it more difficult to manage or control.

“Those in the bushmeat trade who make money out of the commercialization of rare species for urban markets need to be strictly controlled. However, those who eat bushmeat for their own nutrition or sell bushmeat to pay for medicines or school fees, should not be presented as criminals,” she says.

Van Vliet hopes her session will reach beyond conservationists to integrate the input of social, health and economic stakeholders to help develop more integrated bushmeat strategies and policies. 

The TRAFFIC workshop takes place on Saturday 28th August.