Mapping and Forest Governance
In This Section
Over 50 million people depend on the Congo Basin rainforest for their livelihoods. This project aims to improve forest communities' rights to their land.
Mapping and Forest Governance in the Congo Basin
This project began in 2012 in Cameroon and Democratic Republic of Congo. We work with around 1,000 local and indigenous forest communities through locally-based partner organisations.
In the DRC: RRN, GASHE, CADEM
In Cameroon: FODER, APED, AJESH, ASTRADHE, PAPEL
It is estimated that over 50 million people depend on the Congo Basin rainforest for their wellbeing and livelihoods, including up to 700,000 indigenous hunter-gatherers commonly referred to as 'Pygmies', most of which are still at least partially nomadic.
Sadly, these groups constitute some of the most disenfranchised and poorest people in Africa. Many lack access to the most basic state services and often see almost no benefit from the exploitation or land grabs of the forest territories they inhabit and consider as their own under customary law.
There is growing evidence that securing traditional land and resource rights is one of the most effective ways to reduce poverty in forest areas and slow deforestation, which in turn can contribute to the slowing of climate change.
Until recently there have been few formal mechanisms to allow for this kind of forest management but there are a number of political and legislative processes underway in the region, including reform of land tenure and planning systems, which provide important opportunities to protect rights and livelihoods.
The Mapping and Forest Governance (MFG) Programme is designed to contribute to poverty reduction, sustainable management and improved governance of tropical rainforests in Cameroon and DRC.
Supporting the documentation of forest communities’ land tenure and governance systems and the promotion of forest communities’ rights to land and forest resources.
- The largest community mapping exercise of its kind ever undertaken in Africa that will cover 5 million hectares through innovations in mapping methodologies and geo-spatial technologies which allow even non-literate people to independently map their lands with a high degree of precision.
- The launch of the first ever online database of community lands and forest governance for Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo and Gabon, viewable via the MappingForRights.org web platform.
- Testing and development of bespoke forest monitoring technology which enables forest communities in Cameroon and the DRC to capture and upload data on forest destruction and illegalities in real-time, even in areas where there is limited connectivity.
- The programme is already having a policy impact, ensuring that community land rights are kept firmly on the agenda in land reform and planning initiatives in the region as well as efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD+).
“Participatory mapping work is a great opportunity to support forest communities in participating in the management of forest resources for their benefit."
Jeanne Mangani, RFUK DRC coordinator.