Logging Concession in Congo

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The Ndoki landscape in the north of the Republic of Congo is the living heart of the Central African rainforest. It covers an area half the size of New York State and encompasses Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park, Odzala National Park, and the Lac Télé Community Reserve. The region is a stronghold for elephants, chimpanzees, and other forest wildlife—including a recently discovered population of 125,000 western lowland gorillas. It is also occupied by extensive logging concessions. WCS works with the Congolese Government and the Congolaise Industrielle des Bois (CIB) logging company to reduce the negative effects of its activities on wildlife in four of these concessions. This collaborative project is called the Project for Ecosystem Management in the Nouabalé-Ndoki Periphery Area.

Challenges

Covering two-thirds of the landscape, Ndoki’s timber concessions provide Congo’s second largest source of foreign exchange and largest source of employment. The forests are also a globally important carbon store, an extraordinary ecotourism destination, and a vital watershed for the Congo River, feeding Africa’s largest hydroelectric plant. Proper management of the forests is key to maintaining these critical assets. Rapid influxes of people and the construction of logging roads are fragmenting the forests and leading to a rise in commercial hunting for bushmeat and ivory. If left unchecked, these pressures on the forests could destroy a vital ecosystem for both human and wildlife communities.

Goals

  • Continue to advise the Congolese Government and CIB logging company on how to protect wildlife and reduce illegal hunting in and around its concessions.
  • Continue working with local communities to manage hunting and other resource extraction activities within the concessions.
  • Work with the Congolese Government to establish a new protected area in the Ntokou-Pikounda region, home to a huge population of western lowland gorillas.

What WCS is Doing

WCS has been committed to the northern Congo landscape for more than 20 years. Our conservationists provided technical support to the government as it created Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park and secured resource rights for households of Lac Télé. We have also worked with the timber company to adopt wildlife-friendly practices, including zoning as well as measures to control hunting and transport of bushmeat—achieved through intensive education and enforcement programs. Our work with the Kabo timber concession helped CIB become the first company in Central Africa’s to obtain Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification. The company contributes equipment, staff, and funds to the law enforcement program, and has adopted rules for its employees that reinforce Congolese hunting restrictions. To further reduce commercial hunting, it has banned the transport of hunters, firearms, and bushmeat in company vehicles.

From the Newsroom

Chimp Haven Gets an UpgradeFebruary 16, 2012

The Republic of Congo formally expands Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park to help protect a rare population of chimps, known for both their skillful tool use and greenness to people.

Treehuggers of the CongoMay 6, 2010

WCS conducts the first landscape-wide survey of how land-use affects chimpanzees, gorillas, and forest elephants.

Motherlode of Gorillas Discovered in Central AfricaAugust 5, 2008

A new census finds a massive gorilla population previously unknown to scientists. WCS and the Government of Congo have tallied more than 125,000 western gorillas in the northern Republic of Congo. This is great news for the critically endangered western lowland gorilla, which had been believed to number only 50,000 in total.

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