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Leading forestry scientists call for freeze on new logging operations in Congo, urge governments to act



Leading forestry scientists call for freeze on new logging operations in Congo, urge governments to act

Protecting intact forests is crucial for the recovery of an increasingly warming planet

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, October 28, 2021 / APO Group / –

Leading African and international scientists today join the growing call for the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to reverse its plan to lift a 20-year ban on new logging concessions industrial forestry. More than 25 scientists have sent a letter ( to international donors warning of the social and environmental impacts of an imminent lifting of the moratorium.

Environmentalists fear that a $ 1 billion DRC forestry deal to be announced at COP26 will give the green light to massive new logging ( of the second largest forest tropical world.

“Keeping forests intact is crucial for the recovery of an increasingly warming planet ( It is important that we do not take our forests and their future existence for granted, ”says Corneille Ewango Ekokinya (, professor at the University of Kisangani. “It would be good if the government extended the moratorium on new industrial logging and found other ways to develop the economy beyond logging the rainforest,” he added.

Plans to lift the ban were announced by DRC Environment Minister Eve Bazaiba and adopted ( by the Council of Ministers on July 9, as part of the forest protection talks ( / 3ml467l) with international donors including Norway, UK, Germany and France.

Scientists warn of “catastrophic environmental, social and climatic impacts”, which could “lead to the opening of tens of millions of hectares of currently virgin rainforest to industrial exploitation”. They argue that commercial logging – “even if only for selected wood species” – often leads ( to total forest loss.

The Congo Basin may be the last of the great tropical rainforests still acting as a carbon sink following recent studies indicating that the Amazon has become a net emitter of carbon ( 3nwa1pi). Extensive logging in the DRC could also threaten the peatlands of the Cuvette Centrale (, an ecosystem that stores 30.6 billion tonnes of carbon and risks driving species to extinction.

The forest industry has often harmed forest-dependent communities. Yet it is “widely recognized ( that forests under the control of indigenous peoples and other local communities” – now legally possible in the DRC – produce “environmental, social and economic results. Positive.

Scientists warn the DRC government and its international partners that any expansion of industrial logging in the country would be incompatible with their forest protection programs. Instead, support should be directed towards alternative measures such as community forestry and tighter controls on logging companies.

The scientists’ letter was sent to donors with a petition signed by nearly 100,000 people ( in DRC and around the world, supported by Greenpeace Africa ( 3pMlGTR), Rainforest Foundation UK ( and Rainforest Rescue (

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