The second largest rainforest in the world, after the Amazon, sits in the Congo basin of Africa, with around half existing in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Around 21 million hectares (over 51 million acres) of DRC's rainforest are now allocated to the logging industry. We've released new evidence of the extent of this forest crime.
More than 21 million hectares of rainforest in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are now allocated to the logging industry.
The DRC Government introduced a moratorium in 2002 forbidding
the allocation, extension and renewal of logging titles. But
despite the original moratorium being reaffirmed by Presidential
decree, it has been widely ignored. We are demanding that the DRC,
the World Bank, and other donors take urgent action to stop the
expansion of the logging industry in DRC's rainforests, and to fund
alternatives to deforestation.
The Congo Rainforest is a critical habitat for the endangered
bonobo (a relative of the chimpanzee) and other threatened species
such as the forest elephant and the hippopotamus. It is considered
to be a priority region for conservation, and is also home to
numerous communities of the Twa and Bantu ethnic groups.
A bonobo swings on a
tree in a bonobo sanctuary.Bonobos were the last of the great apes
to be discovered. They liveexclusively in the Democratic Republic
of Congo. They are considered tobe man's closest relative and
organise themselves in sophisticatedsocial groups. They are highly
endangered from hunting and loss ofhabitat.
Greenpeace is highlighting one company which has breached the
2002 moratorium. ITB (Industrie de Transformation de Bois) is
actively logging in the region of Lac Tumba, with two logging
permits covering 294,000 hectares (726,489 acres) of forests. Both
permits were issued after the moratorium was enacted. ITB logs with
no forest management plan as it extracts high value species such as
Wenge for export to the European market.
Delegates from the DRC Government, donor community and civil
society will meet next week in Brussels to discuss the sustainable
management of the forests of the DRC. Greenpeace is demanding that
all forest titles allocated by the government, in breach of its own
moratorium, are cancelled. This would include ITB's. We also want
an extension of the moratorium until comprehensive participatory
land-use planning and sufficient governance capacity is in place in
the DRC forest sector.
"Logging companies promise us wonders: work, schools, hospitals,
but actually, they seem to be only interested in their own short
term profits. What will happen when our forests have been emptied?
They will leave and we'll be the ones left with damaged roads,
schools with no roofs and hospitals without medicine," said Pasteur
Matthieu Yela Bonketo, coordinator of CEDEN, a Congolese NGO active
in Equateur province who will be in Brussels for next week's
conference. "Industrial logging doesn't bring benefits. The Twa and
Bantu people who totally depend on our forests and the local
communities who live in them are suffering because of the presence
of the industry," he concluded.
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