The vast forest of the Congo Basin is the second largest tropical rainforest on earth and the lungs of Africa. Its incredibly rich and diverse ecosystem provides food, fresh water, shelter and medicine for tens of millions of people, and is home to many critically endangered species including forest elephants, gorillas, bonobos and okapis. Of the hundreds of mammal species discovered there so far, 39 are found nowhere else on Earth, and of its estimated 10,000 plant species, 3,300 are unique to the region.

The rainforest supports an astonishing range of life, within its teeming rivers, swamps and savannahs. But it also helps to sustain life across the whole planet. An estimated 8% of the earth’s carbon that is stored in living forests worldwide is stored in the forests of the DRC, making the country the fourth largest carbon reservoir in the world. The Congo Basin rainforest plays a critical role in regulating the global climate and halting runaway climate change, for the benefit of the entire biosphere.

But the forest, and the people and animals that depend upon it, are under threat as the unquenchable global thirst for natural resources, crops and foodstuffs means African lands are, more than ever, a target for investors. The solutions to these threats lie firmly with those who live there.

 

 

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The mysterious Okapi

Image | November 12, 2008 at 14:19

The mysterious Okapi, shown here in captivity, is only found in the dense rainforests of the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. This animal, a relative of the giraffe, is rarely seen in the wild.

Salonga National Park Aerial

Image | October 28, 2008 at 9:59

frica's largest tropical rainforest reserve. With its 33.350 km2, the park is larger then Belgium. The park's wildlife is under threat from large scale illegal poaching operations. Logging is expanding in the rainforest southwest of the park's...

Conning the Congo

Feature story | July 29, 2008 at 23:00

Just as the need to save the world’s forests for climate protection is becoming widely recognised, we have discovered that major logging companies - operating in the Congo basin - are increasingly destroying one of the most ecologically important...

A logger's children stand in front of afrormosia

Image | March 24, 2008 at 0:00

Children of a logger stand in front of Afrormosia logs in the SAFBOIS concession. Afrormosia is a protected tree species whose international trade is strictly regulated (listed under CITES Appendix II) .

Forest on the banks of the Congo river system

Image | January 10, 2004 at 9:04

Forest on the banks of the Congo river system, Equatorial province, Democratic Republic of Congo. Greenpeace fact finding tour aimed at documenting the social and environmental impacts of industrial logging.

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