Indigenous and forest-dependent communities are the natural guardians of their rainforest homes, with their traditional livelihoods strongly linked to sustaining their forest environment.
In Africa’s Congo Basin however, local communities are being routinely evicted from their traditional lands to make way for ‘strictly protected areas’, with little evidence these militarised, top-down conservation methods are effective in protecting ecosystems and wildlife.
Many communities evicted for these ‘guns and guards’ national parks report malnutrition due to hunting and fishing restrictions. Their traditions and customs are destroyed by being excluded from the forest.
In Africa's largest tropical rainforest reserve, the Salonga National Park in DR Congo, RFUK’s investigators found evidence of widespread murder, physical and sexual abuse of local people being inflicted by guards employed by the park.
“ It is common for women who venture into the park to be raped, and men face extortion and torture ”
A villager from Bongila, on Salonga National Park's boundary, told RFUK’s research team.
Conservation doesn’t have to be like this. We are working to hold to account those responsible for such abuses and to put in its place a different kind of conservation, one that puts local communities at the heart of rainforest protection.
With our support for community forests and forest monitoring systems, local communities can defend their rights and report instances of illegal logging and mining taking place.
With your help, we can make community-based conservation a reality, ensuring the rights and land of rainforest communities will be protected for generations to come.
Please help us support these communities to protect their rights and land by donating today.