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Congo Basin Region

The Congo Basin rainforest is the second largest in the world after the Amazon.

About Congo Basin Region
Continent: Africa
Size of rainforest: 1.8 million square kilometres
Rate of deforestation: around 10,000 sq. km per year
Main indigenous forest peoples: Baka, Twa, Mbuti, Bakola
Main threat to rainforest: Logging, mining
GDP per capita: N/a
Size of country: N/a
Population: N/a
Congo Basin

While all eyes are on the Amazon, the world's second largest rainforest, the Congo Basin forest, is becoming seriously endangered as Europe, America and Asia's appetite for tropical wood increases.

The Congo Basin Rainforest covers 180 million hectares, spreading across the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), most of Congo-Brazzaville, the southeast of Cameroon, southern Central African Republic (CAR), Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.

If it is destroyed, it would leave millions homeless, drive plants and animals to extinction and would release billions of tonnes of carbon emissions into the atmosphere.

This destruction is a very real possibility.

The DRC, for example, contains 60% of the region's forests. But many logging concessions have been allocated illegally despite a moratorium on new timber extraction OR logging in 2002.

RFUK, which has been working to protect the Congo Basin rainforest and the people who live in it since 1996, believes the best way to protect rainforests is to secure the rights of the communities that have always lived in (and depended on) them to manage them sustainably. RFUK is working closely with African NGOs to support forest communities' involvement in forest management.

In DRC, with the help of DIFD, RFUK has launched the largest ever rainforest community mapping project in Africa. The aim is to give people living in the forest the chance to ‘prove' to the government that they exist and so ensure that their voices are taken into account when decisions are made about how the land is used and by whom.

RFUK's work in the Congo Basin received a recent boost when the Prime Minister pledged £58 million to a fund which will help prevent the destruction of the Congo Basin forest and fight climate change.

The Rainforest Foundation UK (RFUK) welcomed the government's commitment to fighting climate change by intervening in tropical deforestation, and in particular applauded its decision to look at schemes, such as community mapping, that put the needs of people who live in the rainforest first.

Simon Counsell, RFUK Director said: "The government's intervention to help prevent the carve up of the Congo Basin forest could not come a minute too soon."

 

Publications relevant to Congo Basin Region:
Partners in Congo Basin Region:
Other countries
Cameroon Central African Republic Congo Basin Region Gabon
Peru Republic of Congo République Démocratique du Congo
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