Wijma operates forestry activities in a large number of countries at the very start of the supply chain in tropical hardwood. Through careful management and responsible harvesting of tropical forests in West Africa, Wijma can fall back on a large number of sustainably viable sources.
The natural forest in West Africa consists of anything up to 100 different tree species per hectare, each with its own age and dimensions. Before an area designated for harvesting is cleared, a detailed assessment is made of exactly which trees may be felled. At the same time, an evaluation is made as to how forest tracks can best be laid to minimise any possible damage to the forest. In this way, protected areas can be avoided.
When the trees are eventually felled, use is made of the Reduced Impact Logging (RIL) method. Using this method, as little damage as possible is caused to the forest, whilst at the same time safety aspects are taken into consideration during felling.
On average, one to two fully grown trees are felled per hectare. By harvesting fully grown trees, openings in the foliage appear which means more light reaches the ground. This helps stimulate the natural growth of saplings. After the felling operations, all logging tracks are closed off to discourage poaching and illegal felling. The forest is then given another 25 years to recover in the most natural way possible.
Sustainably managed forests can be certified in line with the principles and criteria of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). This means that the forest management meets the highest requirements in terms of social, environmental and economic aspects.