Welcome to the Forest Flyer, an occasional news update from the United States Forest Service International Programs Africa and Middle East Team. To view previous issues of this newsletter, please  click here . For more information about our programs, contact Kathleen Sheridan, Program Coordinator, at kathleen.sheridan@usda.gov
Timber waiting for export at the port in Douala, Cameroon. Photo courtesy of Richard Paton, USFS-IP

The International Police Organization (INTERPOL) estimates that 15% to 30% of all globally traded wood has been illegally harvested.
Illegal logging and trade are complex issues, requiring high levels of coordination and communication across different government agencies. The U.S. Forest Service is committed to promoting a legal and sustainable timber trade in Central Africa by improving agency coordination and access to resources. 
Training, Coordination, and Collaboration: 
Helping Central African Countries Fight Illegal Logging
Around the world, illegal logging is a leading cause of deforestation. Central African forests are particularly exploited because of weak governance. Countries are losing their exotic species and old growth trees, and both humans and biodiversity are suffering. In the Central African region, an estimated 1.6 billion people live in or depend on these forests, and unregulated logging can directly threaten their livelihoods and communities.

To help countries better combat illegal logging, the U.S. Forest Service is collaborating with the U.S. Department of Justice to facilitate a series of regional trainings on investigating, developing, and prosecuting illegal logging cases. The most recent training was in Douala, Cameroon, where 30 participants from different government agencies and civil society groups working in forest management, enforcement, customs, and the criminal justice system gathered to role play interagency coordination and share best practices. They discussed international and Cameroonian timber-related laws, field investigation techniques, wood identification training, technology, data, web-based resources, UN Timber Investigation Guidelines, and planning and investigation strategies. The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs supported the training.
USFS Experts and Royal Rangers examine the site of a forest fire in Dhibeen Nature Reserve, northern Jordan. Forest fires are becoming a bigger challenge in Jordan this year and thus expertise to conserve Jordan’s small but integral forests are in high demand.
The U.S. Forest Service will continue to support the Royal Department for Environmental Protection Rangers with a more in depth training planned for 2020.
Safeguarding Jordan's Natural Resources: Royal Rangers Hone Their Skills
In early June, the U.S. Forest Service spent 10 days with Jordan’s Royal Department for Environmental Protection Rangers to learn about the challenges they face and to collaborate on solutions. The Royal Rangers support Jordan’s Ministry of Environment and the Public Security Directorate to enforce environmental laws and regulations throughout the country, particularly those focused on protecting Jordan’s limited green spaces. They play an important role in protecting Jordan’s fragile ecosystem, which is beleaguered by water scarcity and shrinking forests. The Rangers are a unique institution in Jordan and are one of the only environmental law enforcement groups in the Middle East, posing tremendous opportunity to provide assistance that may have broader benefits beyond Jordan’s borders.
Retired U.S. Forest Service Special Agent Anne Minden and U.S. Forest Service Staff Officer Richard Doak shared their significant experiences in combatting natural resource violations in the United States and provided ideas for how the Royal Rangers could approach prevention, investigation and enforcement of natural resource law in Jordan. 

The U.S. Forest Service team met with Royal Ranger partners and visited patrols in Northern Jordan to understand the natural resource challenges the Royal Rangers face on a day-to-day basis. The trip concluded with a half-day training focused on conducting fire and illegal logging investigations.
Natural Resource Law Enforcement