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Mai-Ndombe Forest Protection

Reducing emissions, protecting biodiversity and empowering communities in Central Africa


The DRC is one of the worlds most impoverished nations, and persisting socio-economic issues are a challenge to biodiversity conservation; unsustainable practices like slash-and-burn agriculture remain a reliable income stream for many, while industry corruption also remains widespread.

Democratic Republic of Congo
Forest Protection

Sustainable Development Goals

1. No Poverty

594 people

with improved livelihoods due to improved capabilities or assets for income generation

3. Good Health and Well-Being

2,988 people

with access to improved health services

4. Quality Education

28 schools

planned for construction over the projects lifetime

5. Gender Equality

15 women

employed full time in the project activities, and 320 women and girls now with improved education

8. Decent work and economic growth

112 people

employed full time in the project activities, recruited from local communities

11. Sustainable communities and cities

13 gardens

built to demonstrate sustainable agricultural intensification, with agronomists working across the project on commercial crop production

13. Climate Action

5,671,000 tonnes of CO2e

mitigated on average annually by preventing deforestation by logging corporations

15. Life on land

246,216 hectares of forest protected

from deforestation through land management and conservation

The Solution

In 2008, two timber concessions on the western shores of Lake Mai-Ndombe were among a group of 91 logging contracts suspended by the government in an effort to address sector-wide corruption causing environmental and community neglect. The two concessions, spanning 248,956 hectares and containing over 3.5 million m2 of highly merchantable hardwood, were reassigned for the purpose of conservation management, with the aim of protecting the area from illegal and legal destructive logging.

Image credit: Filip Agoo //
Image credit: Filip Agoo //
Image credit: Filip Agoo //
Image credit: Filip Agoo //
Image credit: Filip Agoo //
Image credit: Filip Agoo //

The Impact

A joint venture between Ecosystem Restoration Associates (ERA) Congo and Wildlife Works, the Mai-Ndombe project mitigates greenhouse gas emissions by preventing unsustainable land use and deforestation in the project area. It does so by focussing on participatory community-based conservation initiatives that emphasise improved agriculture to address deforestation and empower communities. For example, agronomists have trained local people to oversee agroforestry and teach sustainable agriculture in their own villages. The project also establishes community initiatives in areas of education, health and improved infrastructure, and also monitors regional biodiversity. 19 large mammal species were identified in the project area between 2012 and 2016 including the endangered bonobo (pygmy chimpanzee), one of humankind's closest relatives.

Project ID: 301512
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