State of the Forests
The Congo Basin forests cover 200 million hectares in the heart of Africa. They support the livelihoods of 60 million people, generate funds for States in the region through timber exploitation, absorb huge amounts of carbon, comprise a unique biodiversity and regulate the flow of the major rivers across Central Africa. Nevertheless many questions and uncertainties persist on the services the forests provide, their spatial evolution, the opportunities they represent and the threats they face.
To overcome the lack of reliable information, numerous stakeholders in the region and beyond, from government departments, non-governmental organizations, the private sector and the scientific community, came together in 2005 to produce a first concise State of the Forest report at the initiative of the US-funded CARPE program, and a more comprehensive edition in 2006, with support from the European Union, the United States, France and Germany.
In 2007, the European Union backed this process with the following main objectives: (i) establish a system to monitor the natural and socio-economic environment of forest ecosystems in Central Africa based on a series of indicators; (ii) coordinate the publication every two years of a “Report on the State of the Forests”, and (iii) launch the establishment of the Central African Forest Observatory (OFAC) for the benefit of COMIFAC member countries.
This State of the Forest report, now produced every two years by the Central African Forests Commission (COMIFAC) and the staheholders of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership, has become the gold standard for those looking for a comprehensive and detailed assessment of the status of the tropical forests of Central Africa.