Tackling forest loss on multiple fronts

CIFOR is working with multiple partners to build capacity and manage forested landscapes in the Democratic Republic of Congo

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is home to 125 million hectares of forest that occupy 60% of the country’s land area, provide livelihoods for two-thirds of the country’s population, and act as a vast carbon store for the world.

These forests face diverse threats: shifting cultivation expands to support a growing population; people displaced by conflict swell populations in forested areas; and a legacy of armed conflict facilitates poaching and illegal timber exploitation.

Multifaceted problems demand responses on multiple fronts. The Forest and Climate Change in the Congo (FCCC) project is responding in several ways, building capacity and supporting applied research to develop innovative solutions to practical forest management problems.

“The role of the DRC in contributing to the global effort to fight climate change is crucial, given its forest capital.”

At the University of Kisangani, FCCC supports capacity building though curriculum development, teaching, supervision of Masters students and doctoral candidates, and investments in infrastructure and equipment. In North Kivu Province, CIFOR is working with WWF to establish more than 3000 hectares of woodfuel plantations outside the Virunga National Park to provide new sources of income for planters’ associations while reducing illegal encroachment of the National Park. In addition, CIFOR is working with INBAR and WWF to establish bamboo nurseries and plantations.

CIFOR’s partner, the Virunga Foundation is collaborating with the Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN) to pioneer land swaps to exchange degraded areas within the park for more intact forest areas belonging to villages outside. With key project partners ICRAF, CIRAD, WWF and ICCN, CIFOR also supports a range of other applied research on charcoal value chains, agroforestry species, and a practical guide to useful tree species.

MSc students
trained or being trained
completed or in progress
office and laboratory space created at University of Kisangani
area of family forests established outside Virunga National Park (2015)