Industrial logging is one of the main drivers of deforestation in the tropics. Particularly in the Congo Basin, governments allocate vast expanses of pristine rainforest to logging, without recognising local communities pre-existing claims to those lands.
Roughly one quarter (50 million hectares) of the Congo Basin rainforest is currently allocated for commercial logging, an activity which brings minimal economic benefits, does not contribute to meaningful development, often causes conflict with local communities, and is widely perceived to be a nexus of corruption and illegality.
Governments struggle to monitor the activities of extractive industries and to ensure that they fulfil their social and environmental obligations. This leaves forests and forest peoples extremely vulnerable.
In DRC, home to half the Congo Basin’s remaining rainforest, a governmental moratorium on the allocation of new logging concessions has been in place since 2002.
In 2017, the government of Norway, through its ‘Central African Forests Initiative’ (CAFI), was considering providing financial support to a programme being developed by the French Development Agency (AFD) to greatly expand large-scale commercial logging in the rainforests of the Democratic Republic of Congo. This briefing outlines the potential impacts this proposal would have on the climate.