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Research Report

Deforestation and forest degradation in the Congo Basin: State of knowledge, current causes and perspectives

Bérenger Tchatchou
Denis J. Sonwa
Suspense Ifo
Anne Marie Tiani
Copyright Date: Jan. 1, 2015
Pages: 59
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. vii-vii)

    Recognizing the possible synergies between adaptation and mitigation, in 2010 CIFOR initiated the project Climate Change and Forests in the Congo Basin: Synergies between Adaptation and Mitigation (COBAM).

    The general objective of COBAM is to provide policy makers, practitioners and local communities with the information, analysis and tools they need to implement policies and projects for adaptation to climate change and reduction of carbon emissions in the forests of the Congo Basin, with equitable impacts and co-benefits – including poverty reduction, enhancement of ecosystem services, and protection of local livelihoods and rights.

    The present report analyzes the state of deforestation...

  2. (pp. 1-8)

    Deforestation and forest degradation are two phenomena which are at the basis of the implementation of a new instrument of economic incentives adopted at the 13th Conference of the Parties (COP-13) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), held in Bali in 2007 (UNFCCC 2007). This mechanism, initially restricted to just deforestation, has expanded to include forest degradation under the acronym of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD).

    Understanding the causes of deforestation and forest degradation is the first step to overcoming the challenges that REDD+ will have to address. To date, the final architecture...

  3. (pp. 9-15)

    This section presents a thorough description of the current status of the forest cover, the level of deforestation and degradation of forests, as well as the contribution of this sector to the economies of the countries of the Congo Basin.

    The information related to the forest cover of the Congo Basin, in particular for 2010, comes from the series State of the Forests (de Wasseige et al. 2009, 2012) and is summarized in Table 3.

    Table 3 shows that in 2010, the Congo Basin had a forest cover of more than 268 million hectares (de Wasseige et al. 2012), which...

  4. (pp. 16-28)

    The Congo Basin displays a historical rate of deforestation that is relatively low in comparison with other areas of the planet. However, this rate is already increasing and requires control. If one considers the many pressures on the forest areas, such as increasing demands for agricultural land, mining and other sectors, it is important to determine the current causes of deforestation and degradation, in order to propose options and effective and realistic recommendations for better protection of the forest ecosystems without constituting an obstacle to the objectives of development.

    Geist and Lambin (2001) have identified four major groups of factors...

  5. (pp. 29-41)

    This section attempts to make projections on different factors of deforestation and forest degradation in the future and the way in which each of the factors could act on forest cover in the next few years. In order to achieve this, several planning documents have been consulted in order to understand the sectoral policy of each country for the years to come. These documents include:

    documents of vision (Cameroon 2035; Gabon 2025; Equatorial Guinea 2020)

    Document on Strategy for Growth and Employment (DSCE) in Cameroon; Document on Strategy for Growth and Poverty Reduction (DSCRP) in DRC)

    sectoral strategies (natural sector,...

  6. (pp. 42-42)

    This report has attempted to present the current state of forests of the Congo Basin, to analyze the main current factors of deforestation and forest degradation and to make projections in the light of the vision of the emergence of the various countries concerned.

    With a net rate of 0.09% between 1990 and 2000 and 0.17% between 2000 and 2005, deforestation appears low in the Congo Basin compared with other regions of the world. Slash-and-burn agriculture practiced by the rural populations for subsistence, commercial agriculture and the development of infrastructure constitute the main causes of deforestation. Other factors include urban...