Deforestation rates in the Congo Basin — historically lower than in the Amazon and southeast Asia — are on the rise. It's not just a problem for the 80 million people who rely on the forests for food and livelihoods; research shows the world's second-largest rainforest regulates weather patterns across Africa.
Community forestry has long been hailed as a strategy for reducing poverty and improving conservation by empowering communities to directly manage their forest resources, but it is a recent experiment in the Democratic Republic of Congo. A recent visit to North Kivu showed signs of progress.
A lucrative charcoal trade destroys forests, threatens endangered species and fuels the activities of armed militias in the Democratic Republic of Congo. To avoid further losses, enhanced monitoring and more efficient cookstoves could help.
Ranger Rodrigue Katembo risked his life to protect wildlife from oil developers in Virunga National Park—even wearing a hidden camera and pretending to accept bribes. He recently shared his incredible story with WRI.
The open data movement—the idea that certain data should be freely available to everyone—can drive innovation, make government and corporate activities more transparent and improve decision-making about natural resources.
The rainforests of Africa’s Congo Basin are the world’s second largest, and are increasingly one of the most threatened. Agriculture, mining, logging, and climate change are already chipping away and thinning out the forests’ edge and interior. The Congo Basin forests’ biggest threat, however, is unseen: a lack of good information. With poor infrastructure, government capacity challenges, and hard-to-detect patterns of change, the forests of the Congo Basin are among the most difficult in the world to monitor and manage.
Forests are the life blood of Equatorial Guinea. They cover roughly 98 percent of the total national land area, providing services and sustenance to hundreds of thousands of Equatoguineans. But despite the critical role of forests, the country lacked a comprehensive information system to support monitoring and responsible management of these ecosystems.