Title: The Congo Basin Forests - State of the Forests 2010
Editors: DE WASSEIGE Carlos
BAYOL Nicolas
HIOL HIOL François
MAYAUX Philippe
NASI Robert
EBA'A ATYI Richard
Publisher: Publications Office of the European Union
Publication Year: 2012
JRC N°: JRC69263
ISBN: 978-92-79-22716-5
ISSN: 1018-5593
Other Identifiers: EUR 25161 EN
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC69263
DOI: 10.2788/47210
Type: Books
Abstract: The forests of Central Africa are the subject of intense debate worldwide. This report has become the gold standard for those looking for a comprehensive and detailed assessment of the status of the tropical forests of Central Africa, a crucial pool for climate regulation, conservation of the biodiversity and poverty alleviation in the region. The main findings of the current volume concern the deforestation patterns, the trends in forest sustainable management and the threats to biodiversity. • Congo Basin forests contain 25% of the total carbon stored in tropical rainforests and therefore play a key role in the climate change mitigation. For that reason, the low deforestation rate measured by satellite imagery (0.1% per year for the period 1990-2000 and 0.2% per year for the period 2000-2005) represents a positive signal given by the region, when compared to the 3 to 5 times higher rates observed in Latin America and in Southeast Asia. The local population has a low impact of the forest disappearance since the main sources of deforestation are the fuel wood gathering and the small-scale agriculture. The Congo Basin countries must now take advantage of these results for defending a strong position in the REDD+ negotiations in the Climate Convention. A chapter explains the current context and the positions of the Congo Basin countries in this process. • The sustainable management of the production forests is progressing well in the Congo Basin, with 5 countries engaged in the FLEGT policy (Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade) of the European Union. Fifteen million hectares on 45 are already under management plan, and 8 millions are under approbation, which is the highest percentage among the 3 tropical forest basins. However, the report points out the economic difficulties of the timber sector due to the financial crisis, which lead to recent acquisitions by Asian companies, less sensitive to the long-term forest sustainable management. • Central African countries have developed a dense network of protected areas for preserving the exceptional biodiversity of the region, habitat of many flag species (elephants, gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos, okapis…). National plans are established for reaching the target of the Convention on Biological Diversity of 17% of the land under protection. However, the report puts in evidence that only a few protected areas apply a long-term management strategy and that severe threats are still affecting the population of large mammals. In particular the industrial poaching of elephants for ivory in Central Africa accounts for 70% of the total illegal trade and has reduced by 50% the number of elephants in Democratic Republic of Congo. This reduction can drastically modify the ecology of the forests, due to the role of the elephant in the forest regeneration. The State of the Forests is now produced every two years by the Central African Forests Commission (COMIFAC) and the CBFP stakeholders. More than 100 authors with complementary skills have contributed to the current edition, under the coordination of the Observatory for Central African Forests (OFAC), an information platform funded and supported by the European Commission (respectively EuropeAid and Joint Research Centre) and implemented by a consortium of scientific institutions (CIRAD – Centre de coopération internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement, CIFOR – Center for International Forestry Research, Université catholique de Louvain, Forest Resource Management). This report has also been supported through long-standing COMIFAC partners: the United States, France, Germany and UNESCO. Central Africa can be proud of this initiative, built in a remarkable spirit of cooperation and often cited in international meetings as an example to emulate in other parts of the world. The report and the supporting information is available in French and in English on the OFAC web site http://www.observatoire-comifac.net
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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