The Congo Basin is the second largest tropical rainforest in the world, with almost 2 million square kilometers of humid forest- an area about the size of Mexico. Including secondary and savanna forest, the area equals about 3 million square kilometers, almost half the size of the continental US. The Basin is defined by the watershed of the Congo River, located primarily in the Democratic Republic of Congo, with smaller portions in Gabon, Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Central African Republic, and Equatorial Guinea. The Congo Basin is home to mountain gorillas, lowland gorillas, chimpanzees, and forest elephants, as well as approximately 1,000 species of birds. The basin is also home to 75 million people and 150 distinct ethnic groups, many of whom still practice a traditional hunter-gatherer lifestyle.
Overall, the Congo Basin contains relatively intact forest, although mining, commercial logging, charcoal fuel wood harvesting, and bush meat hunting are significant threats. Violence and low foreign investment have prevented large scale forest conversion in most areas, but future economic development threatens many forest areas.
Explore the forests of the Congo basin on the following pages-