Maintaining the Green Heart of Africa's forests for people and the planet



Posted on 22 March 2013  | 
Hand and a foot of a Bonobo (Pan paniscus) at the animal shelter Lola near Kinshasa Democratic Republic of Congo.
Hand and a foot of a Bonobo (Pan paniscus) at the animal shelter Lola near Kinshasa Democratic Republic of Congo.
© WWF-Netherlands / Bente van der WiltEnlarge
MAI NDOMBE, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO

If we can find a way to halt forest loss in the DRC, not only will a vital part of the Congo Basin’s rainforests be conserved, but the carbon held in the plants and soil of these forests will remain sequestered – which is key to fighting climate change.

The rainforests of the Congo Basin are among the largest on Earth, second only to the Amazon. Yet, unlike the Amazon’s rainforests, deforestation rates in the Congo Basin have been relatively low. Because of this, vast forests still stand in this region, often called the Green Heart of Africa. 

Originally spanning more than 3 million hectares in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Mai Ndombe landscape is now set to expand to more than 12 million hectares as the area becomes a new official province in DRC. This important region of the country contains diverse ecosystems, including tropical moist forests interspersed with savannas and peat-rich “swamp” forests. Human population densities in the region are low, and a large proportion of the residents practice traditional lifestyles based on hunting, fishing and collecting products from the forests. These forests are also home to the endangered bonobo (Pan paniscus), one of the four great ape species found wild nowhere else on Earth.

WWF is working in Mai Ndombe to build community engagement in REDD+. Our aim, in collaboration with communities and governments, is to put plans in place to protect large areas of forests in the region while at the same time supporting sustainable forest uses and community development.

The aim of these activities is to demonstrate how REDD+ could be used as a tool to advance sustainable development while conserving biodiversity and tackling climate change.

We are working to ensure that REDD+ delivers on its promise of maintaining forests for the benefit of people and nature.  

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