Working for birds in Africa

Quick benefits can’t justify cutting down forests

Date posted: 
Monday, July 7, 2008

Conserving the Congo forest, and indeed all of our forests in Africa, as well as accelerating forestation efforts, is vital to our survival on a continent where the Sahara Desert is expanding to the North and the Kalahari Desert is expanding to the Southwest.

For this reason the Congo Basin Forest Fund (CBFF) was launched in London on June 17. The initial financing of the CBFF comes from a pair of $200 million grants from the governments of the United Kingdom and Norway.

Ten countries in the Central African region established the Congo Basin Forest Initiative to manage the forest more sustainably and conserve its rich biodiversity. The Congo Basin Forest is the world’s second largest forest ecosystem and is considered the planet’s second lung, after the Amazon. The forests of the Congo Basin provide food, shelter, and livelihood for over 50 million people.

Covering 200 million hectares and including approximately one-fifth of the world’s remaining closed-canopy tropical forest, they are also a very significant carbon store with a vital role in regulating the regional climate. The diversity they harbour is of global importance.

Spanning an area twice the size of France, the Congo Basin rainforest is home to more than 10,000 species of plants, 1,000 species of birds, and 400 species of mammals.

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