Tropical Bois

Proof of Legality in Ivory Coast

In Ivory Coast, unlike in other African Countries, most timber comes from logging concessions, not from managed forests.

A logging concession is hereby intended as the right to log in a certain area, in contrast with a managed forest, which is the commitment to grow a forest in exchange of the right to log the same territory.

Some of the most prominent wood working companies in the Ivory Coast have forests under management (Tropical Bois being one of them); however, due to the rarefaction of trees in all the forests of this country, just a small percentage of the logs used by any company come from managed forests.

Logging concessions are given for 10 years, but logging permits are given each year. 

Logging is not permitted in a concession without the relevant logging permit.

A Company receiving a concession must commit to:

- the yearly payment of surface fees and concession fees

- the yearly payment of the general interest fees (ITG) to the regional administration where the perimeters are located

- the monthly payments of logging taxes for the logs it processes

- never exceed the maximum permitted yearly logging volume, which is proportional to the perimeter surface;

- either to directly reforest in a fixed proportion of the logging (such as Tropical Bois is doing), or to pay a yearly fee, which funds the reforesting operations implemented by the government.

No logging permit (or concession) is renewed if any of the above commitments have not been fully observed in the previous period, or if any wrongdoing has been carried out in that period.

Therefore, obtaining both the concessions and the logging permits should be construed as reasonable proof that the companies that have them (such as Tropical Bois) have operated conscientiously in the previous year and are therefore trustworthy as a supplier of legal wood.

Following the renewal of the logging permits, the Forestry Administration issues a limited number of pre-numbered and pre-registered waybill forms to all concessionaires (“bordereaux de route homologués” or BRH) that must be used when trucking all logs (one waybill for every truckload). Only when all these have been used, a limited number of new ones be issued. Both new and used waybills have to be filed and be presented in case of any control by the Forestry police.

The logging taxes are to be paid monthly by the firms that process the logs.

A woodworking Company that does not own logging concession, and therefore has to buy logs from other companies, should present an adequate number of BRHs proportional to the volume of its production as well as the logging taxes payment proofs, in order be considered as trustworthy in the matter of supplying legal wood.


Since April 1, 2012  it is mandatory in Ivory Coast to indicate on all BRHs the geographic coordinates of every single log.

In order to provide even more evidence, Tropical Bois personnel take a picture of every log and its stump at the site of cutting using a GPS camera that records for every photo the date and the GPS coordinates. These photos are archived in computer files that can be checked at any time so that the provenance of every log can be traced.

Thus far Tropical Bois is the only producer in Ivory Coast to implement this method, which prevents frauds and abuses. For this reason, and also due to its experience and reliability in forestry operations, Tropical Bois has been chosen by the Forestry Administration as a member of the committee for the implementation of FLEGT agreements in the Ivory Coast. Also, it has been used as an example during the visits of FLEGT international committees to the Country, in September 2012 and in June and December 2013. During the last two visits, the above photographic method was tested with perfect results: the FLEGT experts could be taken exactly to the cutting sites of any randomly chosen log in the Tropical Bois log yard. The committees expressed to Tropical Bois their congratulations.


In the past years there have been a lot of concerns and doubts about a trustworthy guarantee of the legality of Ivorian wood.

These doubts were unfortunately raised against all woodworking companies in the country, even the ones that always operated following the laws and respecting the environment.

In the past these concerns partly had reason to exist due to the division of the country between the previous government and the rebels, which lead to smuggling of all kind of goods (including logs) between the two areas. However, these concerns were to some extent amplified by the mistrust that the international community had in the past government.

Now that the country has been reunited. a new universally recognized government has been established and the laws have been restored, there should be no reason to doubt that any company in the Ivory Coast with regular logging permits would be less trustworthy than companies with similar permits in others countries.

In this regard, the fact that the forest condition in the Ivory Coast is not compatible with implementing the requisites for mainstream wood certifications (e.g. FSC), does not mean that the forests cannot be ecologically and sustainably managed even in this country.

Most importantly, it certainly does not mean that the companies that properly and legally operate in Ivory Coast are any less concerned about environmental problems than those in other Countries, and therefore they should not be considered less deserving to produce and export.

Tropical Bois can provide full evidence of its proper behavior, in the full respect of the laws of Ivory Coast, of the environment and of the people, to anybody wanting to visit our mill and take the time to check all the operations.

Below is one more consideration regarding the incoherent attitude of many operators in the wood market, who seem very concerned about legality as they continuously request certifications and statements on this regard despite always wanting to buy at prices so low that cannot include the costs of a perfectly legal production. This leads them to buy from producers that cannot offer any guarantee of legality.

In fact it is not possible to produce legally, pay all dues to the Forestry Administration, to the Government, to suppliers and employees, and to sell at certain low prices.

Insuring the true legality of wood is an expensive procedure, requiring dedication, consistency and continued investments. Such as all environmental preservation operations, it requires higher costs than the blind, indiscriminate exploitation of natural resources. These additional costs have been and are accepted in principle by governments all over the world, for the purpose of perpetuating most of the resources available to the human race. They should therefore be conscientiously sustained  by all operators of all environmentally sensitive sectors, avoiding easy ways out and evident frauds.

Logging permits

Original perimeters maps

Examples of photos for logs localisation

Regularity statements

Legality declarations