The region of Mpoukou Ogoué constitutes part of the Massif of Chaillu Niari in the far south-west of the Republic of Congo. This region is rich in flora and fauna. Many logging companies are present here, including TAMAN Industries (in the 321,840-hectare Mpoukou Ogoué logging concession), Sino Congo Forest (SICOFOR) (in the 244,632 hectare Ngouongo logging concession), and ASIA Congo (in the Bambama logging concession).
The population of this region consists of a mix of Bantu and indigenous peoples, inhabiting a number of villages including Mokina, Ngonaka, Omoy and Moetché, which are partners in the project. Overall, Téké people represent the majority, but other ethnic groups include the indigenous Babongo, as well as the Ndassa, Mbamba and Bakota. The main subsistence activities of these communities are line, net and dam fishing (the latter being practised mainly by women) hunting, cultivation of cassava, peanuts and squash, collection of "vin de Ntombé", selling tobacco, and small scale animal rearing (chickens, sheep and goats). Gathering and collection of mushrooms and Gnetum africanum are also primary activities.
The presence of logging companies in these areas has not contributed to any socio-economic development for communities. According to community testimonies, the employment promised by the logging companies in question is generally very precarious, with cases of dismissal of employees without pay and without regard for the number of years of experience of the employee. The communities participating in the project have also denounced the weak implementation of the obligations outlined in agreements with the companies (‘cahier de charges') which set out the services the logging company should provide in exchange for logging in community areas. The companies here also lack forest management plans setting out any community benefits or safeguards. There are no official zoning plans that allow for the delimitation of community areas in order to avoid logging taking place close to villages, thus causing conflicts.
Through participatory mapping activities, local communities have been able to demonstrate areas of overlap with logging concessions and begin a process of negotiation with logging companies over their access to these areas though a series of multi-stakeholder processes. They aim to address the absence of of genuine consultation with communities in the process of the preparation of zoning plans.
Such meetings have also provided a platform for them to raise concerns about the decrease in available fauna due to logging activities, increasing instances of conflicts with elephants, as well as the non-implementation of social contracts ‘cahiers de charges' which the loggers are supposed to develop with affected local communities.