The government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is considering lifting a long-standing ban on the expansion of industrial logging in its rainforests. Tens of millions of hectares of virgin forest could be handed over to the loggers, destroying the ecosystem and local peoples’ livelihoods while fueling climate change.
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The second largest rainforest on the planet is located in the Congo Basin in Central Africa. These forests store countless gigatons of carbon and are the habitat of a tremendous diversity of species, including chimpanzees, bonobos and forest elephants. They are also home to millions of people.
International donor agencies have been giving the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to protect its forest and the wildlife it contains. Much more – at least a billion dollars – is planned, especially through the Central African Forest Initiative (CAFI) fund, in order to help prevent climate-changing emissions from deforestation.
But at the same time, the government of the DRC wants to lift a moratorium on the issuing of new industrial logging concessions that has been in place since 2002. This has helped keep deforestation there relatively low, but now the government and logging companies want to open the country up for exploitation. This will inevitably result in an unstoppable ‘cascade of deforestation’ which could destroy millions of hectares in years to come
Opening up some of the world’s last remaining intact tropical forests to industrial logging would be an unmitigated disaster for the climate, biodiversity, rule of law, and human rights of forest communities.
Any lifting of the ban, which could imperil an area of tropical forest the size of France, may also increase the risk of future outbreaks of zoonotic diseases such as Ebola and COVID-19.
The international community should help pay to protect DRC’s forests, but the government must equally commit to keeping those forests closed to loggers.
Please help us by demanding that the international community insists that the logging moratorium stays in place.
This petition is in partnership with Rainforest Rescue and Rainforest Foundation UK. Petition numbers are a sum of all combined petitions between these partners.
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