YAO, Cameroon: Greenpeace has urged Cameroon to suspend a major rubber plantation project in the country’s south because of large-scale deforestation that threatens a nearby UNESCO World Heritage nature reserve. The plantation extends to within a few hundred meters (yards) of the edge of the Dja Faunal Reserve, which is home to 14 species of primate, including lowland gorillas and chimpanzees. Greenpeace called on Cameroon to suspend Sud-Cameroun Hevea (Sudcam) lease deal until important steps had been taken to protect the environment, the environmental group said in a statement on its website. Among the measures sought by Greenpeace are a “due, transparent process to ensure free, prior and informed consent of the local communities.” “Sudcam should immediately halt the conversion of forests inside its concessions and conduct a new environmental impact assessment,” it said. A joint venture between a subsidiary of China’s state-owned Sinochem and a Cameroonian firm, SudCam is responsible “for the worst deforestation of recent times,” according to Greenpeace. The environmental group said its surveys showed that SudCam had cleared 5,930 hectares of forest. Greenpeace said other threats to the forest include the construction of a dam, a planned mining project and poaching.