In Nigeria, the Cross River Forest Reserve (CRFR) in Boki has been the victim of illegal logging by individuals and cartels. The illegal loggers drive pickups along the trails that lead into the rainforest, where they chop down economic trees which are intended for different destinations. Due to the massive timber exploitation, an association of Boki tribe women is speaking against growing deforestation, which has destroyed 885 hectares since 2001.
They staged peaceful demonstrations with chants and banners to show the recurring problem, with the aim to save the forest from further destruction in the face of this crisis. The association "Ochibe Banyinyi Bokyi'' was mobilised from 15 clans of the Boki district, citing the rainforest as a source of food, medicine, and economy. Today, many women who depend on the forest for bush mango and nuts cannot collect them anymore.
The race to harvest timber has attracted illegal loggers from nearby communities, contributing to the disappearance of at least 58 percent of primary forest in the last two decades, with a substantial increase after 2020. At the same time, the use of pesticides greatly disturbs the sediment flow that is throwing off the entire Boki River ecosystem. Through in-depth reporting on the ground, this project will explore threats to the CRFR, its wild fruits and nuts, and the rejection of illegal logging by the Boki tribe women.