The forests of the Congo basin are well preserved, but face many threats from development, resource extraction, and agriculture. Compared to the rainforests of West Africa, where only 10% of forest cover remains, the rainforests of the Congo basin are relatively well preserved. Of the 170-200 million hectares of Congo basin rainforest, total deforestation averaged between 0.1 and 0.2% during the 1990-2010 period, compared to about 0.3-0.4% for Latin America during the two decades.
The Congo Basin is of high importance with regard to the international REDD+ mechanism. Many Congo Basin countries are actively engaged in REDD+ initiatives. Forest inventory and monitoring is important to track deforestation and establish baseline forest cover information for use in REDD programs. Reduced impact logging and forest certification and legality verification are important strategies to promote sustainable forest use. Other conservation initiatives promoted by NGOs and local communities, incorporating more sustainable land and forest use into livelihood strategies include agroforestry, harvest of non-timber forest products, and eco-tourism.
Explore the following pages to learn more about conservation initiatives in the forest of the Congo basin.
Ernst, C., Mayaux, P., Verhegghen, A., Bodart, C., Christophe, M., & Defourny, P. (2013). National forest cover change in Congo Basin: deforestation, reforestation, degradation and regeneration for the years 1990, 2000 and 2005. Global change biology, 19(4), 1173-1187.
Mayaux, P., Pekel, J. F., Desclée, B., Donnay, F., Lupi, A., Achard, F., … & Belward, A. (2013). State and evolution of the African rainforests between 1990 and 2010. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 368(1625), 20120300.
Myers, N., Mittermeier, R. A., Mittermeier, C. G., Da Fonseca, G. A., & Kent, J. (2000). Biodiversity hotspots for conservation priorities. Nature, 403(6772), 853-858.