Top 10 facts about the Congo Basin

Posted on 17 September 2003

1. The Congo region is 300,000 square miles (777,000 square kilometres) in size.

2. The area experiences a population increase of 1.7 million people each year creating a demand for food, fuel and shelter at a great cost to the forest.

3. Congo Basin forests span six countries: Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and the Republic of Congo.

4. The Congo Basin, second in size only to the mighty Amazon, loses close to 1.5 million hectares of forest cover every year. This amounts to about one-third of the 4 million hectares of forest destruction Africa experiences each year - an area roughly twice the size of Belgium.

5. The Democratic Republic of Congo is the largest country in the Congo Basin and contains 12.5 percent of the world’s remaining tropical rainforest.

6. Seven countries hold 60 per cent of the planet’s forests: Brazil, Canada, China, Indonesia, Russian Federation, United States and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

7. The forests of the Congo Basin contain the greatest number of mammals, primates, birds, amphibians, fish and swallowtail butterflies in Africa. More than a 1,000 species of bird can be found here.

8. The Congo Basin is the only place to shelter all three subspecies of gorilla: the lowland gorilla, the endemic eastern lowland gorilla and the endangered mountain gorilla.

9. 50 per cent of the Congo Basin forest has now been allocated for logging.

10. The Congo River that flows through the forest is the second largest river in the world.
© WWF / Martin Harvey
Child in Minkebe, Gabon.
© WWF / Meg Gawler