By Judith Nzyoka
Ecosystem degradation in Guinea has been attributed to anthropogenic activities such as uncontrolled logging and clearing land for farming, coal mining, and other unsustainable forest exploitation. This has been further exacerbated by policy gaps and weak policy enforcement, especially regarding trans-boundary or cross-sectoral natural resource management.
The Balayan Souroumba and Pencely forests support a rich variety of natural ecosystems and have been identified as an important animal biodiversity conservation area. In recent years, there has been increased interest by policy makers and private sector stakeholders in Guinea to establish a rewards-based scheme to address natural resource degradation aimed at promoting positive environmental externalities through transfers of knowledge and financial resources between suppliers and recipients of ecosystem services. In this view prototype payments schemes have been established for watershed services provided by communities and for biodiversity payments based on critical chimpanzee habitat maps.
An experimental payment mechanism conducted in Balayan Souroumba showed that communities are willing to address the forest degradation and biodiversity loss through regeneration of a migratory corridor of migratory for chimpanzees between 2 forest blocks. On the other hand, bauxite and coal mining companies with a high biodiversity degradation footprint and could potentially offset these by financing initiatives like these. However, the major hindrance in structuring a PES scheme is the policy gaps and weak policy enforcement regrading management of trans-boundary or cross-sectoral natural resources. Companies lack awareness and capacity to undertake rewards for ES.