One of many logging trucks on the roads of Gabon
Gabon has established a network of national parks to protect some 26,000 km2 of wildlife habitat. These include Lopé, Batéké plateau, Ivindo and other areas covered in the hotspots section. These are all prime areas for a number of uncommon bird species as well as mammals.
Gabon has a logging industry and there are sometimes trains of logging lorries on the roads. At Léconi, a large new highway is being constructed purportedly as a route for logging trucks from the Congo Republic through Gabon to the coast. The logging industry appears to operate a policy of selective logging although this still requires wide tracks to be created through the forests in order to provide access.
The standard of living is low in many parts of Gabon despite the fact that the country is one of the wealthiest in sub-Saharan Africa. It is not surprising that people support their subsistence living by hunting for forest creatures such as Duiker and Guineafowl. Gabon however, still has one of the highest percentages of forested areas in west Africa if not the whole of Africa.
Oil has been a principle resource in Gabon for some 40 years and the town of Gamba and much of the surrounding area has been developed to support the production of oil. The Gamba area is still excellent for wildlife however as described in the hotspots section.
Gabon has ratified the following international conventions: Biological Diversity; Ramsar; Desertification and Climate Change.
Five categories of protected area are recognised legally: National Park; Faunal Reserve; Strict Nature Reserve; Hunting Area and Wildlife Sanctuary.