Expansion of Protected Areas and Optimization of Land Use for Food Crops - Gabon


Gabon's biodiversity and ecosystems are under particular threat along the borders with neighboring countries where law enforcement has failed to control illegal poaching, mining, logging, and cross-border trafficking.

These border conflicts are exacerbated by confusion over international borders between countries, a problem that dates back to colonial times.

The Programme on Expansion of Protected Areas and Optimization of Land Use for Food Crops aims to translate confusing country borders and illegal cross-border activities into cross-border buffer zones and peace parks. In addition, the programme supports the Ministry of Agriculture's strategy to intensify agricultural production.

This programme contributes to CAFI's dual objective of

  1. to increase carbon sequestration by forests and emission reduction, in line with Gabon's nationally determined contribution (NDC), by placing 400,000 ha of forest currently dedicated to logging under protected area status and by minimizing emissions from the agricultural sector,
  2. to improve the living conditions of the population, by reducing their dependence on imports of products from other countries


National partners

Ministry of Waters and Forests, Sea, Environment ; Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Food SecurityNational Climate Council ; National Agency for National Parks ; Gabon Agricultural Development Agency

Implementing Agency

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)


All financial information for this programme may be found on the MPTF Gateway here


dollars approved & transferred (2020)


national partners


dollars spent by 31st December 2022


ha of new protected areas anticipated


ha of logging concessions to be reclassified


transborder park areas already identified


1. 400,000 new hectares are protected and 500,000 ha of logging concessions are reclassified as protected areas or HCV forests

  • Conducting baseline assessments of areas for proposed protected areas and buffer zones
  • Identifying ecologically sensitive areas and high conservation value (HCV) areas identified along contested borders         
  • Conducting socio-economic surveys, including participatory mapping, in villages within or near proposed protected areas and buffer zones
  • Collating information gathered from field and socioeconomic surveys to formulate a proposal for transboundary parks.
  • Consulting stakeholders, together with the Republic of Congo, and conducing free, prior and informed consent process for all villages concerned
  • Mobilizing the National Land Allocation Commission for the integration of new protected areas into the National Land Allocation Plan
  • Demarcating park boundaries with paint and signage at strategic points with representative local communities.
  • Protecting parks from encroachment and illegal activities.

2. The Ministry of Agriculture’s capacity is strengthened to engage in land use optimization and ensure intensified food crop production and enhanced food security

  • Establishing an agricultural legal unit
  • Supporting the Ministry of Agriculture to undertake in the process of land use optimization; in particular, through technical support to improve the national soil map and the transfer of capacity to conduct soil suitability studies for agriculture and land use planning for priority crops.
  • Establishing a laboratory for Geographic Information Systems and strengthening technical capacity within the Department of Agriculture to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage, and present spatial or geographic data.
  • Establishing a Laboratory for soil analysis, and building technical capacity within the Ministry of Agriculture to assess soil fertility for agricultural activities.

The program will contribute to the following milestones in the Letter of Intent:

Program activities contribute to Objectives I (Land Allocation) and II (Forest Monitoring) of the Letter of Intent signed in 2017 between Gabon and CAFI. Specifically, the program contributes to Milestones 1 (Adoption and implementation of a national land-use plan by December 2021) and 2 (National Natural Resources and Forest Monitoring System).


The program will strengthen the country's institutional capacity to implement the agricultural reform program defined by the Gabon Emergent 2025 Strategic Plan (PSGE, in French Plan stratégique Gabon Emergent 2025), to participate in the national land use planning process supported by CAFI. 

Intervention areas

Odzala Reserve (northeast of the country); Mayombe Park to Mayumba National Park (south); Mount Fouari Protected Area (south); Bateke Plateau Extension (east).

Preliminary results

On 11 June 2021, the first stone of the new Laboratory for soil analysis was laid by the Minister of Agriculture.  

(This section will be completed by the end of year 1 of the program)

Key Resources

Project document: Gabon Protected Areas and Agriculture (in French)

Project document: Gabon Protected Areas and Agriculture (in French), 29 Jun 2020

29 Jun 2020

Link to the CAFI drive on the Programme on Protected areas and Agriculture

Link to the CAFI drive on the Programme on Protected areas and Agriculture, 9 Jul 2021

9 Jul 2021


Photocredit: CAFI Secretariat