&CO 2 Our forests, our future
Our forests, our future !’ studies the broad topics that were discussed at the international conference on the forests of the DR Congo, held in Brussels in February 2007. When glancing through the magazine, you will discover testimonies of those who live in the forest, of those who use it, sometimes even of those who destroy it, consciously or not. Various articles highlight its priceless value but also its vulnerability. A detachable map of the forests and the 5 sites that are part of UNESCO’s World Heritage will enable you to visualize the extent of this gigantic green lung.
THE MAGAZINE OF BELGIAN DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION IN THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO S P E C I A L &co I S S U E C O N G O ' S F O R E S T S | J U N E 2 0 0 7 Our forests, our future ! S P E C I A L F E AT U R E | 6 MAP | 16 LA VOIX DU CONGO PROFOND | 26 PARTNERSHIP | 28 A mosaic of uses for the forest The DRC's forests and national parks Poverty and deforestation What is Belgium doing? 2 J U N E 0 7 | NR 2 3 Mambasa, Orientale Province EDITORIAL Claude CROIZER Environmental Adviser, Belgian Technical Cooperation Eddy NIERYNCK DRC Dossier Manager, Directorate-General for Development Cooperation Theodore TREFON Head of the Contemporary History Section, Royal Museum for Central Africa The DRC does not operate in a closed environment. It forms part of a series of ecological systems which are today under threat from natural disasters and hazards resulting from climatic changes - disasters and hazards which alike. It is incumbent on all stakeholders to work towards the goals set by the Congolese government, which should naturally benefit from the support of all. Given the complexity of the stakes at issue, a single party cannot meet the challenge alone; multiple-player partnerships are now more crucial than ever and international involvement is a must. As regards the shared vision of Belgium and the DRC, our respective societies and institutions are each trying to find their own role in the challenges facing us. By nature, by history and by necessity, our two peoples are deeply committed - albeit with differing sensibilities - to finding cooperation-based, multilateral solutions. Though travelling different paths, our two countries are gradually coming to appreciate the ever-tighter ties that bind us in a wide range of sectors. And our goals are largely the same, as our positions on practical issues go to show: together, we are committed to reducing global macro-economic divides and meeting the Millennium Development Goals to improve the lot of the most vulnerable. The Brussels Conference was a step towards meeting these objectives. Congo's forests deserve special attention from the international community in this postconflict era. The economic revival is under way and gaining momentum, and pressures on natural resources, forests in particular, are set to increase. Discussions as to the best way to � DGDC/Dimitri Ardelean organise an international conference on the DRC's forests, we did not realise how much enthusiasm it would generate. Thanks to effective collaboration between representatives from the world of science and associations, Belgian, Congolese and international institutions, and all those who contacted us of their own accord, researchers, NGO managers and activists, private sector representatives, etc. we feel that we have successfully met our goals of drawing the world's attention to the challenges facing Congo's forests, giving a voice to the main players involved, bringing together stakeholders and creating a platform for open and constructive dialogue. And, of course, alerting public opinion and policymakers to the need for urgent action. This was not the first conference to handle the issue, and there was a big risk of it being `just another conference'. To avoid this, we focused on the need to move towards new management systems and financing mechanisms and to build on the momentum generated by the conference through activities to raise public awareness and understanding, both in the DRC and in Belgium. This issue of � &CO � is part of that drive. The previous issue examined the reconstruction of the DRC in the wake of the elections. For Belgian development cooperation, environmental issues are central to this reconsWith this in mind, this issue of � &CO � spotlights those who live in or from the forest, those who use it and those who - consciously or otherwise - destroy it. Other articles highlight the inestimable value of Congo's forest for the country's population and humanity at large, but also its great fragility. The text of the Brussels Declaration can be found at The forest could play a key role in the country's sustainable development, provided its resources are not given over to single-purpose schemes of `industrial exploitation'. Discussions at the conference highlighted the need to implement effective and truly participatory management geared towards the long term, whose output will help to combat poverty whilst primarily benefiting indigenous groups and forest inhabitants. However, the challenges are numerous, conflicts of interest abound, and it is not easy to gain a clear idea of the nature of the problems and of the best alternatives to advocate. The outcome of the two-day conference was the Brussels Declaration, which ends by encouraging the DRC to pursue unremittingly the efforts on governance undertaken since 2002 as part of the Priority Agenda and encouraging international partners to support these efforts. The government's main focus is on issues directly relating to the survival and emancipation of the population, particularly once neglected groups such as the indigenous peoples, whose knowledge and expertise must be fully exploited. Congo's forests are a public heritage and key to the survival of millions of some of the world's poorest people, as well as to the global environment. By organising this conference with the support of the World Bank, the European Commission and the French and UK development agencies, Belgian development cooperation has reminded its Congolese partners of its commitment to supporting them in achieving sustainable management of their forest resources. truction, not just because the country has one of the richest set of natural resources in the world but, more importantly, because those resources are under threat, and none more so than the forest and its inhabitants. The challenges are multiple: preserving a unique and irreplaceable natural heritage, preparing the DRC of tomorrow, selecting and implementing development strategies and moving step by step towards a sustainable development scenario. A b e l L � o n K A L A M B AY I WA K A B O N G O Secretary General of the Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation, Water and Forests, DRC � Randy Olson W hen the Belgian Minister for its people are not equipped to face. These challenges cannot be the responsibility of a single country, especially one of the least advanced in the world without the resources or capacity needed to tackle these problems. As a leading player in forest management, the Development Cooperation asked us to FOREWORD Ministry of Environment is currently implementing the National Forest Conservation Programme. This makes it responsible for informing the population and the development partners about national activities in the forestry sector and about their contribution to international environmental protection efforts. The DRC's forests are an outstanding heritage for both the Congolese people and humanity as a whole. They must be managed in a way T he Democratic Republic of Congo is emerging from a long period of uncer- that helps reduce poverty whilst also protecting the environment. This is a major responsibility for the country's government and for the national and international communities tainty and must now focus on major issues of national reform in order to meet the growing needs of its population, who, no less than other peoples, aspire to wellbeing as a prerequisite for poverty reduction. reconcile the economic and social challenges facing the people involved, as well as the need to preserve the great ecological wealth contained in the forests, will hopefully enable the conditions of sustainable development in the DRC to be achieved. www.confordrc.org Nearly 300 participants from various countries attended the conference in Brussels on 26-27 February 2007. 4 J U N E 0 7 | NR 2 To p i c a l i s s u e s > 5 Congo's forests Ecological treasure-trove and green lung of Africa WITH A SURFACE AREA OF 1,700,000 KM2, 400 SPECIES OF MAMMALS AND 10,000 PLANT SPECIES, THE TROPICAL RAINFOREST OF THE CONGO BASIN IS AN ECOLOGICAL TREASURE-TROVE, THE SECOND LARGEST FOREST OF ITS KIND IN THE WORLD AFTER AMAZONIA. A VAST GREEN LUNG, THREE TIMES THE SIZE OF FRANCE AND FIFTY-FIVE TIMES THE SIZE OF BELGIUM! �Greenpeace/Philip Reynaers GLOSSARY Biomass : total mass of living organisms within a specific habitat (roots, branches, leaves) Ecosystem : complex formed by an association or community of living organisms and its geological, soil and atmospheric environment Evapotranspiration : total amount of water transferred from the soil to the atmosphere by evaporation from the soil and by transpiration from plants Fr�d�ric LOORE Marshland near Lake Tumba, where dams and traps are used for fishing. mal and plant life the forest harbours. Of the 10,000 recorded plant species in the forest, 3,300 are endemic (i.e. only found in the DRC). There are also 39 endemic mammal spe� Kim Gjerstad CO2 absorbed by forests is 45 times greater than annual emissions from fossil fuel combustion and cement manufacture. The DRC's forests account for 8% of this volume, making them the largest forest carbon sink in Africa, and the fourth largest in the world. dubious honour of being 21st in the ranking of greenhouse-gas-emitting countries (ahead of Belgium, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Switzerland and the Netherlands), due almost exclusively to the bleaching of the `green carpet', which is shrinking by the day as the loggers advance. Indeed, according to some forecasts, 40% of Congo's forests will be gone by 2050. If that were to happen, some 31-34 billion tonnes of CO2 would be discharged into the atmosphere, equivalent (based on 2000 figures) to Belgium's emissions over 267 years. An economic driving force it may be, but the forest is also an ecological asset, both for the DRC and for the world. We therefore need to find ways of managing the forest that serve both the environment and social justice. Nondestructive uses (concessions for tourist, environmental, community use, etc.) that generate revenue for the state whilst benefiting local population groups are a possibility. To this end, Belgium's Minister for Development Cooperation, in close collaboration with the Congolese authorities and other international partners, has pledged active support for initiatives aimed at implementing innovative financing methods for sustainable forest management in the DRC. SOURCES GREENPEACE BELGIUM AND WWF DRC cies. Gorillas, chimpanzees and bonobos are forest natives, as are the okapi and the Congo peafowl. The forest is also home to the rare bongo antelope and large herds of buffalo and forest elephants. This fantastic biodiversity, amongst the richest in the world, is echoed in the lakes and rivers. Lake Tanganyika alone The surprising flora of the Ruwenzori Mountains (Virunga National Park), whose peaks are covered in glaciers and permanent snow. Forests: a key player in climate control You don't need a degree in climatology to grasp the potential impact of deforestation on the climate. Given that the biomass of tropical rainforests contains around 180 tonnes of carbon per hectare, it's not hard to work out how much carbon is discharged into the atmosphere through intensive deforestation. Over 90% of above-ground carbon can be lost through change of land use. The direct impact of selective logging is considerably smaller, although still significant, and the indirect effects stemming from the creation of access roads also need to be factored in. This means that the annual discharge volume linked to deforestation represents 10-25% of total human-induced CO2 emissions - roughly equal to the amount produced by the global transport sector. For the Democratic Republic of Congo, it has been calculated that between 1950 and 2000 emissions from deforestation were 50 times higher than those from fossil fuel use in A rare and endangered species, the okapi is only to be found in the tropical forests of eastern DRC. loss is accelerating due to deforestation caused by a number of factors, including industrial logging on the continent (see p.13). Fortunately, around two-thirds of the Democratic Republic of Congo is still forest � some 145 million hectares, of which 86 million are rainforest (40% of the country's surface area). As we will discover, aside from the major role they play in maintaining a balanced global climate, these ecosystems also provide an exceptional means of livelihood for vast numbers of people whose survival is intimately bound up with the natural resources they provide. In the DRC alone, around 40 million people rely on the forest for food, medicinal plants and energy supply. A frica was once entirely covered in tropical forests, from Senegal to Uganda. Today, much of it is bare and the tree Green gold and earthly paradise But the `green gold' of the forests is also the country's economic lifeblood. The central rainforest basin provides wood for export whilst also acting as the larder for a number of large urban centres such as Kinshasa. Furthermore, despite the DRC's rich mining potential, its development is still heavily dependent on the agricultural sector, which derives its water from the local forest cover. Another key factor is the Congo river which, as the DRC's main highway, plays a key role in transporting people between the rural interior and the urban agglomerations: its flow rate (40,000 m3/s across the year) is controlled by the forest, which generates 75-95% of precipitation in the Congo Basin through evapotranspiration. contains 2,000 species of fish, over half of which are found nowhere else on the planet. Most of these lakes and rivers depend on the forest for their existence. Africa's largest forest carbon sink As well as their immediate local and regional importance, tropical forests perform a varied array of environmental functions whose benefits spread well beyond the borders of the DRC. Firstly, they help to purify and recycle water and supply nutrients and other nutritive components to flood plains, marshes and estuaries. They also help to limit the impact of floods and droughts. However, most importantly of all they play a vital role in combating global warming as they are more effective than any other ecosystem at absorbing carbon EXTRACT FROM THE BRUSSELS DECLARATION � The forests of the DRC are a shared national heritage of inestimable value for both the people of the Congo and for humanity as a whole� �UNESCO/Eric Lodd� Finally, we must mention the exceptional ani- dioxide (CO2). In global terms, the volume of the country. Currently, the DRC has the 6 J U N E 0 7 | NR 2 Special feature > 7 A mosaic of uses for the forest THE CONGOLESE FOREST MUST BE SAVED PRIMARILY FOR ITS OWN SAKE AND BECAUSE IT IS ONE OF EARTH'S LAST REMAINING NATURAL LUNGS. BUT FOR LOCAL PEOPLE IT IS ALSO A SOURCE OF WEALTH THAT REQUIRES PROTECTION AND DEVELOPMENT. TO ADDRESS THESE CHALLENGES, WE NEED TO ENSURE SUSTAINABLE AND WELL THOUGHT-OUT FOREST MANAGEMENT THAT WEAVES TOGETHER A MOSAIC OF DIFFERENT USES. THIS FEATURE HIGHLIGHTS SOME PRACTICAL EXAMPLES OF THE FOREST'S ECOLOGICAL AND ECONOMIC FUNCTION AND WHAT IT MEANS FOR THE PEOPLE WHO LIVE AND WORK THERE. �Randy Olson 8 J U N E 0 7 | NR 2 Special feature > Okapi Wildlife Reserve. Preparing bouquets to feed the reserve's captive okapis. The bouquets comprise leaves from around 50 wild plant and tree species. 9 mine workers need to be evacuated; a basic staff presence and infrastructure must be res- Preserving an THE DRC'S NATURAL BIOLOGICAL WEALTH PLACES IT 5TH IN THE WORLD RANKING FOR ANIMAL AND PLANT DIVERSITY. HOWEVER, THIS EXCEPTIONAL BIODIVERSITY IS UNDER THREAT, AND IF WE ARE TO SAVE IT EVERYBODY NEEDS TO PLAY THEIR PART. HERE WE LOOK AT EFFORTS TO REHABILITATE PROTECTED AREAS AND PRESERVE THE MOST ENDANGERED SPECIES AND ECOSYSTEMS. tored to the parks and surveillance stepped up to prevent unsustainable forest exploitation. Another urgent task is to restore site boundaries, with the involvement of local people, as �UNESCO/Eric Lodd� irreplaceable biological treasure State of emergency also had a negative effect on fauna, flora and national parks on the forest preservation structure, which ceased to function. This has left ecosystems all the poorer, with Virunga hippopotamuses massacred, the elephant population at World Heritage Sites decimated and only a handful of white rhinos thought to remain. However, this should not blind us to the efforts being made to keep this heritage alive, in particular by the Institut Congolais pour la Conservation One thing is certain: rehabilitation of the protected areas will take time as the entire network has to be re-evaluated. The creation of new areas has already begun, the ultimate aim being to have 15% of the national territory designated protected area, as required by the Forest Code (compared with around 8% today). The task is a complex one: armed groups, military outposts, local people and ring parties in a bid to establish genuine `conservation diplomacy'. In addition, structures have been set up to manage ecological data and basic maps of the five World Heritage Sites have been developed using satellite imagery. This has enabled the relevant data to be updated. he history of Congo's natural parks dates back to 1925 when the Virunga National Park (the first of its kind in Currently, the five UNESCO's World Heritage List are also on the World Heritage in Danger List and many protected areas now only exist on paper2. The problems are manifold but the major cause of decline in biodiversity is human activity: agriculture, hunting, wood collecting and so on. Other scourges include armed groups who poach threatened species, the illegal trade in bush meat, forest exploitation and illegal mining. With the return to stability, the priority now is to get the existing protected areas working properly. The war that tore the country apart not only decimated the civilian population but in Virunga. Local involvement is important as the success of these measures depends greatly on their acceptance by surrounding communities. The end of the conflict also brings risks. As has been the case elsewhere in the region, poaching is likely to increase as the timber industry picks up and roads are opened into remote forest areas which were previously inaccessible to hunters and poachers. Africa) was created in the north-east of the country to preserve the celebrated mountain gorilla. Eight decades later and the DRC boasts 60 officially protected areas, including five World Heritage Sites. They are home to some of the world's most remarkable species, many unique to the DRC, including the bonobo, the northern white rhino, the Congo peafowl, the extremely rare okapi and the less well-known aquatic genet. The country's biodiversity is also evident in the profusion of plant species, molluscs, birds, fish, insects and bacteria1. Many of these T Human resources needed Discussions at the Brussels Conference highlighted the enormous need for manpower, materials and infrastructure. Thirty or forty years ago, technical staff were well trained, but since then, as in other areas, things have stagnated. Fortunately, the country still has a small pool of vocational experts, although many of them are now nearing retirement. Studies in 2005 revealed an estimated need for around 700 engineers and 2,000 technicians3. New approaches calling for appropriate skills are therefore required. Olivier STEVENS and Julie LEDUC species are still not well known by science. de la Nature (Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation, ICCN) which is responsible for managing it, and its many partners. The mountain gorilla population in Virunga has risen, thanks mainly to more effective patrols; some occupied land has been recovered and contact has been made with the various war- �Greenpeace/Philip Reynaers Local involvement The conflicts of interest that frequently arise between nature conservation groups and people living on the outskirts of national parks highlight how important it is to involve local communities, in terms of both environmental protection and the use of environmental knowledge. Hunting reserves once served as buffer zones around parks; today, however, demographic pressure is such that they are no longer fulfilling their role. The solution being advocated is one of `participatory management' that attempts to reconcile the interests of all parties. However, if such projects are to succeed, they need to offer economic alternatives to local population groups, e.g. income-generating activities and the provision of socio-economic infrastructure. Marshland near Lake Tumba. Mbandaka, Equateur province. Office of the provincial coordinator for environmental protection. �Greenpeace/Philip Reynaers 10 J U N E 0 7 | NR 2 Special feature > 11 Cataloguing the forest (measuring trees' diameter at chest height and identifying their species), at an `upward standardisation' (UH) block at the Luki Reserve in the Mayombe forest, Bas-Congo. �Greenpeace/Kate Davison �Royal Museum for Central Africa/Camille Couralet An innovative idea : Bush meat hunter on an access road in the region of Bandundu. These roads open up the tropical forest, making it accessible to commercial poachers, amongst others. EXTRACT FROM THE BRUSSELS DECLARATION Tourism: another source of finance Promoting tourism whilst preserving the fundamental balances between natural environments is another task of the ICCN. The return of tourism should generate capital that can be used to meet staff and operating costs in protected areas. However, if this is to succeed, transport and accommodation facilities will need to be developed. Rwanda is a good example of what can be achieved in this respect: green tourism, driven mainly by gorillas, is now the country's third largest source of foreign currency after coffee and tea4. SOURCES UNESCO, CIFOR, CIRAD, WORLD BANK �UNESCO/Eric Lodd� � The conference brought to light that the maintenance of the biodiversity of the Congo's forests, their genetic potential and their contribution to the Earth's environmental balance are also global issues that go far beyond the boundaries of the Congo itself. They highlight the need for mobilisation on a regional and international scale.� THROUGH CARBON CAPTURE AND EVAPOTRANSPIRATION, TROPICAL FORESTS HELP TO REGULATE THE CLIMATE AND PLAY A CENTRAL ROLE IN COMBATING GLOBAL WARMING. Marie-Christine BOEVE International community ready to act The Conference also called for the introduction of new financing mechanisms to mobilise 2. 1. the necessary resources. The urgent need for capital is, indeed, a major concern. Technically, everything is in place, but this could be jeopardised at any time by a lack of funds. For example, funding needs to be found to meet fixed operating costs such as wardens' salaries. Political instability and conflicts have made it impossible for projects to think ahead more than three or four years, whereas nature conservation is a long-term goal requiring long-term investment. Another priority is therefore to ensure long-term international commitment, without which there is no prospect of achieving lasting results. The creation of a fiduciary fund for nature conservation is one answer to the lack of secure funding sources. 3. 4. Andy Purvis and Andy Hector, "Getting the measure of biodiversity", Nature 405 (6783), 11 May 2000, pp. 212-219. "Forests in Post-Conflict Democratic Republic of Congo: Analysis of a Priority Agenda", CIFOR, CIRAD, World Bank (2007) According to Mutambwe Shango � ERAIFT (conference) Guy Debonnet, UNESCO Carbon: a cycle of life Carbon is omnipresent on Earth. Its overall quantity remains the same and is divided up into various `pools' between which exchanges take place: this is known as the carbon cycle. Some of the carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere is dissolved in the ocean; some is transformed by plant photosynthesis into organic matter, which is then ingested by herbivores, who are in turn eaten by carnivores, all of whom release CO2 as they breathe. Recent studies show that plant matter absorbs more carbon dioxide (around 2 billion tonnes) than it releases. Fossil fuels (coal, oil, gas) resulting form the decomposition of organic life over millions of years constitute `trapped' carbon. They remain in this form until they are burnt by humans to generate energy, when Fast fluxes Slow fluxes Weak fluxes they return to being CO2 in the atmosphere. This `additional' CO2 disrupts the natural car- Villagers are encouraged to breed cane rats to ease pressure on bush meat. Atmosphere Biomass Dead biomass (soil, peat) bon cycle and contributes to global warming. Deforestation and carbon sinks Oceans A growing forest acts as a carbon sink. Why? Because the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) absorbed by growing trees through photosynthesis is greater than the amount of CO2 released by their respiration and by the ICCN INSTITUT CONGOLAIS POUR LA CONSERVATION DE LA NATURE (CONGOLESE INSTITUTE FOR NATURE CONSERVATION) Founded in 1975, the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation, ICCN, is a technical and scientific public body whose tasks are to manage and conserve biodiversity in the protected areas, to encourage and promote scientific research and eco-development, to develop eco-tourism with respect for the fundamental principles of nature conservation and to integrate conservation into the local development process for people living near protected areas. Some 2,000 staff from a variety of disciplines including vets, biologists, geographers, economists, agronomists, financial and legal experts and historians are working to implement an effective conservation plan to preserve the DRC's biological diversity. Fossil carbon oil, coal, gas decomposition of dead trees. When most of Limestone (calcium carbonate) the trees have stopped growing, equilibrium is reached and a CO2 balance attained, meaning that the forest is no longer a carbon sink. This is why only reforestation projects, not natural forests, are counted as carbon sinks in international negotiations. � Greenpeace/Kate Davison the carbon sinks 12 J U N E 0 7 | NR 2 Special feature > 13 EXTRACT FROM THE BRUSSELS DECLARATION Ibi-Bateke trees native to the region, help combat the greenhouse effect and contribute to the eco- A daring carbon sink project jobs it generates, could provide a major boost to development. Another major benefit of IbiBat�k� is that it will create a vast refuge for wildlife, offering subsistence and ideal conditions for reproduction. Deforestation, or missing the forest for the trees For a long time, war and political instability protected Currently, a dozen firms hold over half of the logging permits covering an area of some 10 million hectares. The majority of these are Congolese, Belgian, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Lebanese. At the start of the decade, 340 forestry permits covering an area of 43 million hectares were allocated at risible prices with no guarantee of transparency. In 2002, permits representing 25 million hectares were declared invalid. At the same time, the Congolese government introduced a moratorium on the allocation of new forest use rights and instituted a forest code, one of whose provisions is that classified forests should cover 15% of the DRC's territory (as against 8% today). Although backed up by a presidential decree in 2005, this moratorium has been consistently flouted. As for controls on forest use, these are non-existent at present. However, though the battle to preserve Africa's `green lung' seems fraught with difficulties, it has not been lost yet; it may well be that the challenge of climate change spurs us on to find alternatives to unsustainable industrial logging. F.L. SOURCES GREENPEACE BELGIUM AND WWF DRC � The Conference acknowledges the innovative character of several initiatives, such as the creation of carbon sinks through reforestation. � T he aim of the Ibi-Bat�k� carbon sink project is threefold: replant a damaged area of Congolese forest using Pragmatic development ... in the medium and long terms The project's managers have their sights firmly fixed on 2020, when the forest currently being planted (acacias, eucalyptus and pines) will be ready to meet worldwide demand for paper pulp fibres and biofuel cellulose. � The main obstacle with this type of project is convincing investors and donors of long-term profitability," Olivier Muschiete explains. "Here, the first seven or eight years will see no return. In the Congolese context, this is a difficult thing to get people to accept. That said, I have managed to secure the involvement of key local partners such as the Congolese government, the various ministries concerned, the local chiefs as well as international partners who are more inclined to commit to long-term projects if there is effective daily follow-up.� M-C.B. and O.S. Congo's forests from industrial logging. Even today, their distance from the sea and the lack of infrastructure (ports, roads) mean they are relatively well preserved from looting. Nonetheless, between 2000 and 2005, the country lost over 300,000 hectares of forest a year, equivalent to 600,000 football pitches. This makes the DRC the 8th most deforested country in the world. Admittedly, compared with other tropical countries, the rate of deforestation is still relatively low. But looking at things in this way, we run the risk of.... missing the forest for the trees. In fact, although the logging is selective, it is terribly damaging as it takes the best and leaves the rest. Operations are focused on a dozen commercially valuable species, which account for almost 90% of production. To reach these, vast swathes of forest are opened up, into which plough armies of log-hauling vehicles, followed immediately by poachers. Several varieties are so overexploited that they now appear on the endangered species list compiled by CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). Eventually, these precious species may disappear entirely. Particularly endangered are the afromosia, wenge and sapelli. carbone What role is played by plant respiration? What is the effect of carbon dioxide (CO2) derived from the combustion of fossil fuels and deforestation? With the carbon cycle now seriously are becoming vitally important. For man's disrupted by human activities, these questions impact on the carbon cycle is not measured solely in terms of CO2 and the climate, but also of disruption to ecosystems. The aim, therefore, is to conserve as many as possible of the existing forest CO2 sinks through measures such as combating deforestation, creating forest reserves and changing forestry systems. over 8,000 hectares. GLOSSARY The carbon cycle: a precarious balance nomic and social development of a whole region. Holistic approach is vital �A lot is at stake here. As so often, we are having to use what may seem contradictory methods and resources. Our top priority is to save the equatorial forest for its own sake. After much reflection, we feel that a forest area can generate great benefits, both economic and socio-cultural, in the medium and long terms," project manager Olivier Muschiete explains. Planting, maintaining and harvesting acacias, eucalyptus, pines and other native species will create a lot of direct jobs. "As is often the case with attempts to optimise the development potential of Central African countries, the difficulty comes with thinking in a holistic way that combines the philosophical and the macro-economic and creating real projects that involve all players without deviating from the initial premise,�, Muschiete says. 8 million trees over 8,000 hectares The project is located on the Bat�k� plateau, which stretches from Gabon to Angola, either side of the Congo river, two hours from Kinshasa. At these latitudes, with their equatorial rains, we would expect to find dense rainforest: instead, natural grassy savannahs, dotted with scrawny bushes, stretch away into the distance. The project aims to convert this unproductive savannah into a source of renewable biomass, by planting 8 million trees First and foremost, it is an ecological way of tackling global warming. But it is also a social and economic revolution for the region: villagers will need to be trained to manage the forest, i.e. to tap its resources effectively. Eventually, the forest, with the resources and SOURCES CIT� DES SCIENCES, EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, IBI VILLAGE Madjoko, Bandundu. A concession Carbon sink : a natural or artificial carbon pool that is constantly expanding (in contrast to a carbon source). The main sinks were once the biological processes responsible for coal, oil, natural gas and methane hydrates, together with limestone rocks. Nowadays, oceans and certain plant environments are the biggest sinks. Photosynthesis : process whereby plants convert their organic matter using solar energy. Carbon sequestration/storage/fixation : processes whereby carbon or CO2 is removed from the biosphere and stored in a carbon sink. Biofuels : plant-based fuels derived from biomass. Ecological footprint : measurement of the load imposed by humans on nature; used to estimate the productive surface a the waste it produces. �WWF/Marc Languy A WWF-supported nursery near Virunga National Park. A growing forest acts as a carbon sink. An original initiative : Sponsor a Congolese tree! The association IBI offers a service allowing you to calculate your carbon footprint. Based on the outcome, a computer program works out the number of saplings you need to buy to offset your footprint. A selection of species are available - acacia, milletia, pine and on the variety. To take part, go to http://ibi-village.cd and click on Action parrainage. �Greenpeace/Kate Davison group needs to generate the resources it consumes and absorb eucalyptus - costing between 1 and 2 depending 14 J U N E 0 7 | NR 2 Special feature > Spotlight on charcoal MOST WOOD FROM CONGO'S FORESTS IS USED FOR HEATING AND COOKING. Herv� JEANMART Universit� Catholique de Louvain � Department of Mechanical Engineering smoke an unusual smell. If this smoke comes into contact with food, it tends to alter its taste. Charcoal, meanwhile, is more energy dense, containing around twice as much energy per kilogramme as unprocessed wood. Other benefits of charcoal are that it burns steadily and at a high temperature. It is also easier to package and conserve. Charcoal is produced by thermal degradation of wood at high temperature and in the presence of little (or no) air. When wood is subjected to heat, the water inside it evaporates when the temperature exceeds 100�C. The wood then decomposes into a combustible gas and a carbon-rich residue: charcoal. The tem�BTC/Jan Van Gysel perature at which decomposition takes place is key to the quality of the end product, with around 500�C needed to obtain good quality charcoal. This process, known as `carbonisation', can be performed on most types of wood. only 2.5 times less energy than a kilogramme of oil when burnt. In industrialised regions, oil has largely replaced wood due to its availability and ease of use. In most African countries, however, wood remains the primary domestic fuel, although oil is necessary for certain kinds of application (such as cars). When oil becomes less readily available, it is likely that we will return to more intensive use of wood in order to limit our impact on the Earth's climate and our environment. Wood W ood is a natural resource heavily exploited for its energy content. A kilogramme of dry wood releases will then be processed using a variety of procedures geared towards efficient use. The DRC is located in the centre of the African forest area Dense moist forests Dry forests and savannahs Charcoal production in the DRC Charcoal production techniques in the Democratic Republic of Congo are very similar to those in neighbouring countries. In villages, unprocessed wood is often used for cooking and heating but charcoal is also produced on a very small scale. A fire is lit and fed until the flames disappear; it is then spread out and allowed to cool. The resulting product is partially carbonised wood. The process is inefficient as the wood is exposed to the air, causing much of the carbon to burn away without producing charcoal. p p Benefits of converting wood into charcoal Currently, the most common type of wood processing is conversion to charcoal. Unprocessed wood is not ideal for domestic cooking and heating, for a number of reasons. The first is the presence of water in the wood. This increases the wood's mass while reducing its energy content and produces a dense, opaque smoke when the wood is burnt. The second reason is that, when the wood is burnt, volatile elements are released which give the SOURCE: � 2007 UCL-GEOMATICS, COLOURED COMPOSITION SPOT VEGETATION Detachable map of Congo FORESTS AND SITES INSCRIBED ON THE WORLD HERITAGE LIST OF UNESCO D E TA C H A B L E M A P O F C O N G O W I T H T H E F O R E S T S A N D W O R L D H E R I TA G E S I T E S GARAMBA NATIONAL PARK The park's immense savannahs, grasslands and woodlands, interspersed with gallery forests along the river banks and the swampy depressions, are home to four large mammals: the elephant, giraffe, hippopotamus and above all the white rhinoceros. Though much larger than the black rhino, it is harmless; only a few individuals remain. Lake Albert OKAPI WILDLIFE RESERVE The Okapi Wildlife Reserve occupies about one-fifth of the Ituri forest in the north-east of the country. The Congo river basin, of which the reserve and forest are a part, is one Forests and World Heritage sites The protected areas cover 10% of the 2,345,480 km2 of Congolese territory, and include 60 protected areas, 7 of which are national parks and 5 are World Heritage sites. The latter are all inscribed on the list of endangered World Heritage.. of the largest drainage systems in Africa. The reserve contains Lake Edouard Lake Ntomba threatened species of primates and birds and about 5,000 of the estimated 30,000 okapi surviving in the wild. It also has some dramatic scenery, including waterfalls on the Ituri and Epulu rivers. The reserve is inhabited by traditional nomadic pygmy Mbuti and Efe hunters. Lake Mai-Ndombe Lake Kivu VIRUNGA NATIONAL PARK Virunga National Park (covering an area of 790,000 ha) comprises an outstanding diversity of habitats, ranging from swamps and steppes to the snowfields of Rwenzori at an altitude of over 5,000 m, and from lava plains to the savannahs on the slopes of volcanoes. Mountain gorillas are found in the park, some 20,000 hippopotamuses live in the rivers and birds from Siberia spend the winter there. Atlantic Ocean KAHUZI-BIEGA NATIONAL PARK Lake Tanganyika A vast area of primary tropical forest dominated by two spectacular extinct volcanoes, Kahuzi and Biega, the park has a diverse and abundant fauna. One of the last groups of mountain gorillas (consisting of only some 150 individuals) Vegetation Map DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO p p p p p p p p p p p Alluvial dense moist forest Dense moist forest Deteriorated forest Mountain forest Agriculture Dry forest Tree savannah Bush savannah Grass savannah Steppe savannah Swamp grassland Large river, rivers and lakes Border Asphalted road Connecting road Railway track Capital Principal town of the province Principal town of the district Important city lives at between 2,100 and 2,400 m above sea-level. Lake Upemba Lake Moero Lake Moero Wantipa SALONGA NATIONAL PARK Salonga National Park is Africa's largest tropical rainforest reserve. Situated at the heart of the central basin of the Congo river, the park is very isolated and accessible only by water. It is the habitat of many endemic endangered species, such as the dwarf chimpanzee, the Congo peacock, the forest elephant and the African slender-snouted or � false � crocodile. This map is a simplified version of the land cover map of the Democratic Republic of Congo that was published in January 2006 (http://www.uclouvain.be/enge-cartesRDC). Carried out by C. Vancutsem, J.-F. Pekel, J.-P. Kibambe Luamba, X. Blaes, C. de Wasseige et P. Defourny. Research Unit Environmetrics and Geomatics, Universit� catholique de Louvain, Belgium. With the support of the Belgian federal scientific policy and in close collaboration with Mr.C. Evrard, F. Malaisse, P. Mayaux and Mr. J.-P. Malingreau. A detailed map of each World Heritage site has been designed in the framework of the Syt�me de gestion d'Information pour les Aires Prot�g�es (Information management system for the protected areas) (ICCN-UCL-UGent-Unesco, 2007). (SOURCE T E X T: U N E S C O ) 19 A mound. The wood is covered with leaves and earth, with holes to let air in and smoke out. For larger-scale production, a different method is used. The trees are felled and sawn into logs less than a metre in length. The bark is stripped as it contains minerals that impair the quality of the end product. The wood is then left to dry in the air. Once dried, it is placed in a pit dug nearby. Alternatively, the wood is piled on the ground to form a mound and covered with leaves and earth, leaving a few holes at the base to let air in and flames out. The wood is then set alight and the process allowed to take its course, although care is taken to ensure the mound burns evenly by covering up some openings and plugging others. If too much air is let in, the carbon in the wood will burn, as in the method described above. Care must also be taken not to trap the carbonisation gas as this slows down the process. Once the whole mound is alight, the CONTACTS DIRECTORATE-GENERAL FOR BELGIAN TECHNICAL COOPERATION (BTC) DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION (DGDC) � IT IS THE SKILL OF THE CHARCOAL MAKER, MORE THAN THE PROCESS ITSELF, THAT DETERMINES THE YIELD AND THE QUALITY OF THE CHARCOAL� �UCL/TERM Jo�l BLIN Biomass and Energy Research Unit, CIRAD A pit filled with dried wood. The bark has been stripped off beforehand to ensure a better quality end product. in its high-temperature atmosphere until fully converted. Successful carbonisation requires experience, especially as the duration of the conversion process depends on the size of the wood blocks, the total volume involved and the raw material used. Once the process is complete, the charcoal is left to cool in the pit before being taken out, packaged and transported. This method enables efficient charcoal pro- duction near the place of felling, thus avoiding unwieldy transportation of unprocessed wood. It is particularly well suited to charcoal production for urban centres. Many other local carbonisation methods exist around the world, but they do not differ fundamentally from those described here. Only for very large volumes are different processes used. air inlets are blocked up and the wood is left www.btcctb.org WOOD AND CHARCOAL IN FIGURES � Wood and charcoal provide Avenue Colonel Ebeya, 15-17 Gombe, Kinshasa � Democratic Republic of Congo T. + 243 81 89 46 611 E. email@example.com Resident Representative : Manolo Demeure Belgian Embassy Building du Cinquantenaire, Place du 27 Octobre - B.P. 899 Kinshasa � Democratic Republic of Congo T. + 243 89 89 24 233 / +243 89 89 34 412 E. firstname.lastname@example.org Minister Counsellor for Development Cooperation : Paul Cartier 80 % of domestic energy in the DRC. 1m 3 1 � Each inhabitant of the DRC uses an average of � The city of Goma consumes over of firewood a year.2 47.000 of charcoal annually, equivalent to over 250.000 tonnes of wood. More than 90 % of this wood comes from the Virunga National Park. 1&2 3 3 SOURCES Forests in Post-Conflict Democratic Republic of Congo: Analysis of a Priority Agenda, CIFOR, CIRAD, World Bank (2007). The Forests of the Congo Basin: State of the Forest 2006, Congo Basin Forest Partnership (2006). �BTC/Jan Van Gysel 20 J U N E 0 7 | NR 2 Special feature > 21 De nombreux projets de d�veloppement communautaire touchent � l'�ducation des enfants. A holistic view Children learning the secrets of the Ituri forest. of the forest �Randy Olson evil exuded by individuals towards others is the cause of man's misfortune, as it provokes disgust and anger amongst the spirits and drives them away from the camps. In fact, the real masters of the forest and its resources are always the spirits, who enable men to find subsistence by driving animals towards hunters' weapons. It is the soul of the forest that initiates human beings into knowledge of the world bit the deep equatorial forest, which Jean Nke Ndih calls "the most complex and diverse ecosystem on earth". Over 4,000 plant species, 700 species of vertebrates, a heterogeneous, mosaic-like forest structure, resulting in an uneven availability of game, ground now marshy now dry, alluvial plains such as the or matrilineal societies, chieftain societies, etc.) rub shoulders and inevitably influence the culture and customs of other groups. The Pygmies are one such group, with their own important identity.� and into community life by means of initiation rites. It protects them but also presides over their life, death and rebirth as forest spirits. If we examine all the rituals of the three main Pygmy groups of Central Africa, we observe similar structures and functions in spite of extreme diversity of detail. Their cosmology has an invisible world of undifferentiated spirits acting as mediators between the living and a forest spirit known as the `active god', as distinct from the now-distant creator god. When it comes to addressing the spirits, there is no caste of `priests' responsible for religious worship: any initiated adult male is deemed fit to communicate with the forest. The religious practices of the Pygmies fall into two groups: big public ceremonies involving the whole community, and intimate small-scale rites pertaining to private matters. These forest-related rituals have three basic functions: winning the favour of supernatural forces to secure abundance and fertility, discovering the causes of disturbances or the likely outcome of some future action and appeasing angry spirits in times of hardship or conflict or after the death of an animal during a hunt.� Olivier STEVENS � WESTERNERS OFTEN VIEW THE FOREST AS HOSTILE AND FRAUGHT WITH DANGERS. FOR PYGMIES, THE FOREST MEANS PARADISE, PROTECTION AND DEVELOPMENT.� Link based on � fusion� with the forest � Studying the stories and songs of different Pygmy groups tells us about their understanding of the world and where they came from. Typically, Pygmy tribes believe that when people die their spirits join those of the ancestors, who haunt the spirit world of the forest. There they go on living as they did when alive, in large camps swarming with women and children, where they take part in mythical hunts and live for ever. An important detail in this cosmogony, which is key when considering the relation between the Pygmies and the forest, is that these spirits, the ancestors of today's men and women, are impartial when it comes to their descendents and act beneficently or malevolently depending on how the living behave towards each other, towards the ancestors and towards plants, trees and other species living in the forest. � � The forest, i.e. nature as a whole, is imbued with vital principles. From these, an individual can derive spiritual power, either through inheritance or through initiation, which will assist him in whatever he does. However, there are also evil forces which are irresistibly attracted by the malevolence and bad words of men: the �Greenpeace/Philip Reynaers Cuvette, home to the Aka people, rolling hills like those inhabited by the Baka people to the Nkwete, Equator province A hunter explains how to transport fire over long distances by wrapping embers in palm leaves. south of the Adamawa Plateau, but also steeper landscapes such as the region occupied by the Mbuti. Interview with Jean Nke Ndih, a Cameroonian anthropologist and Executive Secretary of the African Green Federation (F�d�ration des partis �cologistes d'Afrique). players in the field, Congolese or Belgian policy-makers and administrators or academic researchers, is that you cannot address this issue in a compartmentalised way. The only meaningful approach is a comprehensive, holistic one, � explique-t-il. � In African tradition, from birth through to death, popular belief systems revolve around the idea of environment. Each individual is marked by his or her relationship with nature, whether in the form of group ties, a taboo or some other element that highlights the living nature of their surroundings. Whether in hunting or agriculture, fishing, picking or gathering, the whole rural population is imbued with this closeness to nature and natural resources. This knowledge of the natural environment, this age-old cultural and `philosophical' approach, which we also see in traditional medicine, means we should take a comprehensive view of problems, whether economic, political or cultural. � � Great biological, ecological and human diversity � � Pygmies are often described as � the forest people � Jean Nke Ndih goes on. � But we mustn't forget that the Pygmies are not the only inhabitants of the equatorial region stretching from the Atlantic to the Great Lakes, more than 4,500 km away. In fact, there are almost 150 different ethnic groups inhabiting this area. We need to bear this in mind when addressing issues of culture and identity. Like political, economic or social approaches, such issues cannot be dealt without taking into account this ethnic � mosaic� , as well as the corresponding biological � mosaic�. � In this area, a number of different language families (Ubangian, Bantu and Sudanese), types of economy (agriculture, mixed hunting and agriculture, fishing and gathering) and political systems (acephalous societies, patrilineal J ean Nke Ndih is one of Africa's top specialists on indigenous forest peoples and was one of the first on the continent to Pygmy identity. His holistic Diverse natural environment and complex social relations The Pygmies do not grow crops or keep animals. As hunter-gatherers, they are one of the few peoples to live on the wild products of their environment. The Pygmy peoples live scattered over vast areas of land in the forest block of the Congo Basin, from the Atlantic coast to Rwanda. They include a number of distinct groups, which vary considerably in terms of physical appearance, language and, to a degree, culture. There are thought to be between 100,000 and 200,000 Pygmies left in Africa today: the exact number is very difficult to assess, for obvious reasons. They inha- draw a link between the environment and defending approach to the cultural dimension of forest peoples is breaking new ground in the academic world. He is currently researching the Pygmy peoples of Central Africa. Death, hunting with spears, misfortune and puberty � In addition, four circumstances in the lives of the Pygmies have their own specific rites, which are common to all groups. These are: death, hunting with spears (known as assa- Approaching the issue of forest inhabitants � The first thing I want people to understand, both in Africa and Europe, whether local 22 J U N E 0 7 | NR 2 Special feature > 23 Ituri forest. A choir. The word on the ground Elise ODIEKILA �Randy Olson Adolphine Muley , married, mother of two Indigenous women's representative Ituri forest. Collecting honey. �Randy Olson that if we don't act fast and take the necesgais), misfortune and puberty. The ritual of the hunt is extremely important and illustrates the holistic link between the Pygmies and the environment in which they live. Each hunt is preceded by a divination session during which the soothsayer `reads' the flames of a great fire to discover how the hunt will progress and the best direction to take. He also tries to establish the cause of misfortunes and illnesses. In extremely simplified terms, it is the spirit of the forest that whispers the answers, its constant aim being to ensure a balanced regeneration of the world. � fact, most Pygmy groups speak their own languages which are specific to themselves yet also related to other African languages. This is evidence of age-old ties. The mythological importance of the Pygmies in the eyes of the In other words, then, the Pygmies have not lived cut off from the rest of the world in some kind of `forest cocoon'. For centuries, they have been involved in the movement of peoples, playing a select role in a group of interconnected societies. By keeping alive their nomadic lifestyle, their music, their language and religion, they are striving to maintain their age-old familiarity with the equatorial forest. the transition to an urban existence, they are faced with identity problems and a sense of disorientation. Today, governments have a vital role to play in safeguarding these peoples. Enshrining the right of peoples to exist and the protection of minorities must go hand-inon a combination of our scientific knowledge and the intuitive knowledge of the Pygmies. Seeking to � remove� the Pygmies from some nature reserves is ridiculous; it merely attests to a desire to separate them artificially from an environment that frightens us. Thinking along the lines of Rousseau's `social contract', what we need today is a � natural contract�, a holistic view offering Westerners and other local tribes a different relationship with nature and hence with society. In this era of great climatic change, only the Pygmy peoples appreciate the daily impact of certain choices we make. We need to take a long, hard, philosophical look at the repercussions of our economic decisions. Globalisation is also a question of detail. � �Kokolo Nganga "I first got involved in combating illegal forest exploitation back in 1998. I feel sary measures, the Congolese forest could disappear. The government and donors give priority to economic interests without taking into account the social aspects. The Congolese forest is home to around 40 million people! How scandalous would it be if it and all its inhabitants disappeared! No more hunting, no more picking or gathering � it would be a death sentence for all those poor people." This politically committed women, who is also President of the Union for the Emancipation of Indigenous Women (UEFA) in Bukavu, is scathing in her criticism: "When the loggers come, they often take no account of the indigenous people, even though the forest belongs more to them than to anyone. In exchange for a handful of salt or a few bars of soap, they destroy great swathes of forest. The worst thing is there are no reforestation schemes." She goes on in the same vein: "Civil society must support the government in establishing effective management of this natural heritage and ensuring that it takes into account the interests of local communities. I also want to see women getting involved in the fight. Whether as advisers, mothers or wives, they can make a substantial and positive contribution to effective forest management in the same way they manage their homes - but they have to be allowed to get involved. Women have some valuable comments to make which can generate good ideas and positive changes, if only they are taken on board. � Multiple interrelations Contrary to popular belief, the Pygmies are not isolated peoples who evolved away from the rest of the world. From time immemorial, the social, cultural and economic pact between the Pygmies and the Grands Noirs* has provided balance in the life of African societies. � As I said before,� Jean Nke Ndih continues, �the Pygmies are not the only people to occupy this forest area. Linguistics, oral tradition and ethnolinguistics can teach us a lot about their relations with the peoples of Central Africa. In Grands Noirs is another argument in favour of this. These ties are found in religion, cosmogony and magic, as well as possession rites, traditional therapies and enthronement rites. Based on this, many people believe that the forest Pygmies acted as guides for the Grands Noirs during their migrations. This deep-founded relationship is more relevant than ever before and is critical when considering the problem of deforestation. More than a purely economic tie, it is a genuine alliance in which the social system of each partner needs the other to survive and relies on the contribution of the partner society. hand with an effective forest policy, founded Plea for a pragmatic and philosophical approach � Deforestation is like a genocide without the weapons, � Jean Nke Ndih concludes. � The Pygmies and other forest peoples can teach us the real meaning of � to take away �. Westerners often view the forest as hostile and fraught with dangers. For Pygmies, the forest means paradise, protection and development. In their world, nature sets the tone. We are already reaping the benefits of this in the field of pharmaceuticals; our knowledge complements theirs. Deforestation poses a threat to *The Grands Noirs (Tall Blacks) are the Pygmies' Bantu neighbours. The term was used by the first Westerners to reach Pygmy encampments, which were always situated deep in impenetrable forest. them and they do not have the organisational structure to defend themselves. Often caught mid-way between their ancestral lifestyle and 24 J U N E 0 7 | NR 2 Special feature > 25 Ren� Ngongo , 46, married, father of four Environmental activist Jacquie Batasemae 44, widowed mother of 12 Mother Iyane Oyongo Luison 46, married, father of four [Organisation Concert�e des Ecologistes et Amis de la Nature] to raise awareness amongst the various players about the importance of preserving the forest and make appeals at local, national and international level. OCEAN now operates in the Eastern Province and North and South Kivu and has been up and running in Kinshasa for the past two years. Forest exploitation in the DRC has been pretty disorganised until now, � he continues. � Before the Third Republic, there were a lot of shady practices in the sector. The then Environment Minister signed a moratorium but this was flouted by his own ministry. The present government has only just started work so it's difficult to judge. That said, I hope that it will stick to its pledges, including the one on transparent management of natural resources. � He goes on to list his demands: �We want to see compliance with all legal provisions. The code was passed in August 2002 but there are not enough support measures. We need to speed up the conversion process and ensure that everybody's rights are restored. Those who don't meet the conditions should hand back their supply guarantees to the state. In this respect, OCEAN is in favour of a moratorium until government capacity is strong enough and national and participatory zoning is in place. � Ngongo believes another measure is vital: � We also need certification for logging firms. The European and American markets are increasingly particular about wood from tropical forests. They want legal, certified timber. Consumers who buy the wood don't want to feel they are contributing to deforestation in Africa or anywhere else in the tropical zone. The government needs to work alongside the private sector and civil society on this. Often, we see logs being driven past and our immediate reaction is to condemn the logging firms. But take a closer look and you realise that local communities are also abusing the forest. A few years ago, you weren't allowed to fell caterpillar trees. Now they're doing it in the villages. People no longer have jobs and this is the only way they can make ends meet. On top of this comes the problem of slash-and-burn agriculture. Villages cut down large swathes of forest to make way for fields. Two or three years later, these fields are no longer productive and they have to create more by felling more trees. � "W e began raising public awareness through radio programmes back in 1992. That wasn't enough so we set up OCEAN Forest worker Praveen Moman , 55, married, father of one Investor in ecotourism �Kokolo Nganga a site. � This is the ecotourism vision of Volcanoes Safaris. Cofounder Praveen Moman explains: � We offer a range of ecofriendly tourist activities in natural environments whilst also contributing to the local economy. We have been based in the "B usiness and forest protection are totally compatible: in return for a certain sum, tourists can go off and discover but moved into forestry on the advice of my tutors. I found it easy to adapt and the forest has become my second home. I love my work: looking for good quality forest with valuable timber and negotiating with environmental partners, with a good outcome at the end of the day. � What does the work comprise? � Forest prospecting involves systematically surveying a forest to ascertain whether or not it can be worked. It is the basis of all forestry activity. The work is done by a team of about 15, led by an engineer. They travel to the site to inspect the location. The work involved is enormous and local youths are hired to help out. They are given quick training and paid at the end of the job. Technological progress has made forestry work �Kokolo Nganga "I ended up in this job partly through fate, partly through passion. I've been doing it for 23 years! I studied agriculture I �Kokolo Nganga n Kinshasa, it is women who are the breadwinners for their families. Widow Jacquie east of the country, notably Rutshuru, Buindi, as well as in Rwanda and Uganda, for almost a decade. The tourist potential of this region is huge. We would also like to bring our expertise to bear in the Kahuzi-Biega and Virunga national parks in Kivu. We are interested in these two parks because of the great apes, gorillas and chimpanzees. But financially it's a risky undertaking given the pockets of insecurity that still remain in those regions. Along with the lack of basic infrastructure, that is the biggest obstacle to our business. � A company that serves the local economy: � The local people are benefiting from our presence in the region. We train them and provide them with paid work. � Batasema is one such woman. For her, wood is the best way of generating income. It isn't easy work, especially for a woman of her age. But her military training has given her backbone. She walks mile upon mile, no longer afraid of the forest. She says: � I go to the forest twice a week to cut wood. My son often goes with me. When I'm feeling very fit, I fell the trees myself. That can take several days. By the end, I feel exhausted and am sometimes taken seriously ill in the forest, far from my children. But I don't have any other choice if I want to feed them. I don't use the wood at home; I live in Kinshasa and my house has electricity. I sell it to my customers - women who sell chikwange [fermented dough made from water and manioc flour] and lotoko [a drink made from fermented maize]. I also sell it at big events when people use wood to cook with. Some housewives also come to get wood for cooking. � easier. Results used to be fairly inaccurate due to the equipment used. Thanks to new technologies, the scientific equipment is now highly sophisticated (satellites, aerial photos and GPS), giving us an accurate overview of the working area. � Ultimately, the biggest problem in Luisen's view is a human one: � The local people don't always understand what we're doing. They think that loggers just come along and destroy the forest whereas in reality logging is in no way intended to harm people's interests. � He stresses: � Loggers abide by the forest code, unlike some others. Most of the locals are illiterate and don't understand how the system works. Often they believe the small NGOs who bang on about overexploitation and poor forest management. In fact, logging in the DRC has been proven to have minimal impact. It �UNESCO/Eric Lodd� even takes account of the needs of local people by offering some Okapi Wildlife Reserve. The wardens know their patch like the back of their hands and often risk their lives in their efforts to protect the country's heritage. of them jobs. � 26 J U N E 0 7 | NR 2 L a Vo i x d u C o n g o P r o f o n d > 27 Loading charcoal bound for Kinshasa. Charcoal is easier to package and transport than wood. � WHEN THE FOREST IS DAMAGED, FARMERS' INCOME FALLS � Alain HUART �Greenpeace/Philip Reynaers management and poverty The great majority of the DRC's rural population rely on the forest for their day-to-day needs. Sustainable forest productivity will eventually drop due to the decline in soil fertility. In the urban areas, few households have electricity. Most families cook with charcoal. The wood used to make the charcoal is cut on the outskirts of the town or city. If you travel outside Kinshasa you won't see any trees within a 100 km radius, they have all been destroyed. The farmers have to grow their crops further away. City-dwellers are also worse off because the firewood is expensive. In fact, the poorer you are the more expensive it is, because you have to buy your wood in small quantities. Ultimately, the only way to cut this dependence on wood is electricity. Failing that, the urban poverty spiral will continue. �BTC/Alain Huart �WWF-Canon/Martin HARVEY Near the Virunga National Park. The cultivation of food crops is now likely to be the biggest direct cause of deforestation. Firewood collection also has a big impact around towns and cities and in densely populated countryside. is available for agriculture. The humus improves the soil's fertility, due to fixation of atmospheric nitrogen by the acacias, resulting in at least double the agricultural yields. This means increased charcoal production and better agricultural yield due to the fertility of the soil: Increased rainfall and a return of wild game to the 10,000 hectare site have also been observed. In other words, the project has managed to recreate an ecosystem where people can live in a balanced way and still make a reasonable income. How can we balance forest preservation with the everyday needs of local people? VA N G U L U T E T E > To solve poverty in the DRC, help needs to focus on the agricultural sector, on which two-thirds of Congolese depend. Our aim today must be to help these people find solutions, because when you're fighting for survival, preserving biodiversity is not the major concern. If we can give people back the purchasing power to buy food and generate enough income to cover their primary needs, we can make real IMPROVING CULTIVATION PRACTICES AND INCREASING THE COUNTRY'S ELECTRIFICATION RATE (CURRENTLY 6%) ARE KEY TO PRESERVING THE DRC'S FORESTS. YET ON THE GROUND VERY LITTLE IS HAPPENING IN THESE AREAS. � LA VOIX DU CONGO PROFOND � PROVIDES A LINK BETWEEN FARMERS AND THE AUTHORITIES, IN AN ATTEMPT TO CONVERT The forest of Mayumbe, in the province of FARMERS TO CULTIVATION Bas-Congo, has been severely damaged as a PRACTICES THAT PROVIDE result of reckless industrial exploitation. DECENT YIELDS WHILST ALSO How has this deforestation affected local SAFEGUARDING THE ECOSYSTEM. people? ALAIN HUART In your view, what is the link between deforestation and poverty in urban and rural areas? ALAIN HUART Are attempts being made to improve farmers' cultivation practices in a way that helps preserve the forest? VA N G U L U T E T E > > In rural areas, we are seeing log- This is a task for both the ging operations on both an industrial and smaller scale, including trees felled for firewood and itinerant slash-and-burn agriculture. Such slash-and-burn agriculture is flagrantly wasteful and the traditional environment is declining as there is not an inexhaustible amount of space available. In North Kivu and other regions, we are seeing moves towards sustainable, permanent cultivation around habitations. Instead of striking way out into the forest, they grow crops around and in the immediate vicinity of their homes. As a result, they have to produce compost, organic matter and fertilisers. When the forest disappears, all the non-wood resources and associated activities decline. And once the balance has been upset and the forest has been damaged, the farmers' income falls and, even if the forests are replaced by fields, Ministry of Environment, Land Management and Agriculture and the Ministry of Rural Development. However, to ease the pressure on firewood, we need to create an agro-forestry zone where charcoal can be produced without causing too much damage. If we compile a list of projects, we can see there aren't a great number. There is an acacia reforestation project covering almost 10,000 hectares at Mampu, 120 km from Kinshasa, on the Bandundu road. It's an agro-forestry project combining timber and charcoal production on the same site. Acacia is a fast-growing tree, which matures within four years. After that it can be cut. It provides a yield of 350 35-kg bags per hectare, which is a lot. Once it has been harvested and cut for charcoal, there is a gap of two or three years before the trees grow back when the land � WHEN YOU'RE FIGHTING FOR SURVIVAL, PRESERVING BIODIVERSITY IS NOT THE MAJOR CONCERN � VANGU LUTETE > Mayumbe forest has indeed been severely damaged. This has had three consequences. Firstly, there is a dwindling supply of timber. Most of the forestry companies and sawmills have shut up shop. Secondly, the Am�d�e MWARABU KIBOKO This project has been going for 30 years and should inspire many other similar projects around the main urban centres. The villagers are willing to replant with acacia provided they are helped with the saplings. Meanwhile, other pilot replanting schemes to assist local communities are under way: at Luki, Bas-Congo, with WWF support and Belgian funding, and at Lubumbashi in Katanga, Lisala in Equateur and Bas-Fleuve in Bas-Congo with the support of the FAO and funding from the Netherlands and, in particular, Belgium. This community-based management aims to create income sources for local people whilst ensuring sustainable management of resources. inroads into poverty. Each region needs agricultural activities that afford farmers a decent income. On the back of this, we will see pressure on the environment and the forest decline over time. This is a complex procedure requiring coordination and complementary approaches from the government and its partners. production of non-wood forest products is in decline. Thirdly, the deforestation has led to climatic disturbance and a decline in soil quality due to the loss of the humus layer and ero- Alain Huart, is a Belgian cooperation expert working at the Congolese Agriculture Ministry, and Vangu Lutete, is assistant to the FAO's representative in Kinshasa. Both write for � La voix du Congo profond �.They talk to us about their experiences in the field and explain why, in their view, deforestation only exacerbates poverty. sion. As a result, soil fertility has dropped along with agricultural yields. The inhabitants can no longer find game either to feed their family or to set up a small business, subject to checks on endangered species. Generally, all the forest's resources are declining thereby threatening the food security of local people. La Voix du Congo profond is a monthly magazine published by the Congolese Agriculture Ministry (see p. 30). 28 J U N E 0 7 | NR 2 Partnership > 29 What is Que fait Belgian development cooperation la coop�ration doing for Congo's forests ? belge EDDY NIERYNCK Reforestation in the region of Luki, Bas-Congo. Young acacia and improved manioc saplings are being planted. Development and implementation of community forestry �WWF The project aims to strengthen the legislative framework of the Forest Code. Supporting political resolve to involve rural communities in forest management is a particular priority. The Belgian Scientific Policy is financing a programme entitled Syst�me de Gestion de Forest management Supporting sustainable development and conservation of forest ecosystems by helping to safeguard forest tax revenues for the State and boosting the contribution of forest exploitation activities to the socio-economic development of local people. The programme operates on three fronts. Firstly, it provides technical support at national level for the development of forest policy and drawing up decrees and by-laws based on the new forest legislation. Secondly, an agreement has been reached with the operator of a forest concession in the Cuvette region regarding social development and the preservation of biodiversity in the concession. The company will undergo checks with a view to securing forest management certification and timber labelling. The third component is situated in Bas-Congo, a region where much forest clearance has taken place and where pressure on the remaining forest ecosystems is intense. It focuses on conservation and development in a buffer zone around a forest reserve in Luki. project is working to refine community forestry concepts and to develop procedures for negotiating with the private sector, notably by means of implementing decrees. : FAO : US$ 1,219,270 (2007�2009) BELGIAN DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION IS FINANCING OR CO-FINANCING A NUMBER OF ACTIVITIES PROMOTING THE PROTECTION AND SUSTAINABLE MANAGEMENT OF FORESTS IN THE DRC. HERE ARE A FEW EXAMPLES ... Education Support for the Ecole R�gionale post-universitaire d'Am�nagement et de ges- �UNESCO tion int�gr�s des For�ts Tropicales (regional post-university school for integrated development and management of tropical forests, ERAIFT - Kinshasa) ERAIFT is the only regional school of its type in the DRC. It trains experts in a range of disciplines associated with the development and sustainable management of natural resources. ERAIFT works in close cooperation with the Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation, ICCN), some of whose activities are also financed or co-financed by Belgium. IMPLEMENTATION l'Information sur les Aires Prot�g�es (Protected Area Information Management System, SYGIAP), intended to support the ICCN. Basic maps and satellite image maps of the five World Heritage Sites have been published as part of the project. The programme is also working to develop an information and monitoring system (Geographical Information System � GIS) that will enable the ICCN to manage collected data relating to biodiversity, as well as patrols and illegal activities. Finally, in collaboration with the Royal Museum for Central Africa and the European Commission/Central African Forests Observatory, the project aims to integrate socio-economic and cultural data in order to compile pressure indicators and develop a participatory approach to the creation of development plans and zoning of parks and buffer zones. IMPLEMENTATION IMPLEMENTATION BELGIAN CONTRIBUTION The bonobo. The last of the great apes to be discovered; also the least well known and the least protected : UNESCO : 375,000 (2001-2003) / 500,000 (2004-2007) Two botanists identify samples before entering them in the herbarium created by the NGO WCS. : UNESCO, ICCN, Ghent University, Universit� Catholique de Louvain BUDGET : 850,000 (2003-2008) Forest Governance Joint multi-donor fund for improving forest governance This joint initiative, managed by the World Bank, supports implementation of the Forest Code and the Priority Agenda for Congolese reforms. The joint fund has four main components: 1. Sustainable forest use and improved governance in the forest sector; Third year of the specialist vocational training diploma (DESS) in integrated development and management of tropical forests and territories (2005) BELGIAN CONTRIBUTION Conserving nature and protecting biodiversity Biodiversity protection programme at World Heritage Sites in the DRC This multi-donor programme aims to conserve five UNESCO World Heritage Sites (Virunga, Kahuzi-Biega, Garamba and Salonga national parks and the Okapi Wildlife Reserve). These parks are home to globally important but seriously endangered biodiversity (including rare and endemic species such as the mountain gorilla, bonobo, okapi and northern white rhino). Currently, Belgium's support is financing the implementation of emergency action plans to rehabilitate the Kahuzi-Biega and Virunga national parks and the Okapi Wildlife Reserve. A national community conservation strategy is being prepared in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). : UNESCO, ICCN PROJECT PARTNERS : Gilman International Conservation (GIC), German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ), International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP), World Wildlife Fund (WWF) BELGIAN CONTRIBUTION : 652,520 (2001-2003) / 1,400,000 (2004-2007) OTHER FUNDING : United Nations Foundation, Italy IMPLEMENTATION Accurate and up-to-date forest data are valuable for drawing up policies, managing protected sites and protecting threatened species and ecosystems. IMPLEMENTATION BUDGET : WWF : 1,750,000 (2003-2008) EXTRACT FROM THE BRUSSELS DECLARATION 2. development of communities of forest populations; 3. overarching support for implementation of the Forest Code; 4. administrative support and institution building. Belgium is contributing 500,000 (France 200,000 and the European Commission 3 million). UK development cooperation has also pledged US$ 500,000. � Given the complexity of the stakes at issue, a single party cannot meet the challenge alone. Multi-player partnerships are now more crucial than ever, and international involvement is a vital factor. � �UNESCO/Eric Lodd� �Greenpeace/Philip Reynaers �Greenpeace/Filip Verbelen 30 J U N E 0 7 | NR 2 News > 31 Exhibition �Knock on wood� is a new Readers' letters A SELECTION OF REACTIONS TO THE FIRST EDITION OF � &CO �, WHICH SPOTLIGHTED THE POST-ELECTORAL EMERGENCY PROGRAMME, CLEAN-UP WORK IN KINSHASA, WATER MANAGEMENT AND BTC PROJECTS IN THE DRC, AMONGST OTHER ISSUES. I read the first edition of your magazine with some interest. As the head of a local NGO, la Dynamique des Jeunes pour la Paix et le D�veloppement, I have a particular interest in the issues raised (...) I hope that &CO will give us the opportunity to start a dialogue on the effectiveness and efficiency of activities in the field. About clean-up work in Kinshasa: (...) We are sometimes scandalised to see well-to-do Congolese hurling bananas skins or bags out of their air-conditioned cars and their less well-to-do counterparts throwing rubbish next to Council bins. Basically, the Congolese in general, whether university graduates or farmers, have not been brought up to a culture of cleanliness; (...) All the BTC's action programmes are worthwhile and may well reap temporary rewards. However, these actions need to be incorporated into our culture if they are to be efficient and durable as well as effective. (...) Publications Quel avenir pour les for�ts de la R�publique d�mocratique du Congo? Innovative instruments and mechanisms for sustainable management of the forests. Belgian Technical Cooperation's scientific review. This issue aims to build on the discussions and debates at the Brussels conference on sustainable management of forests in the DRC. The review contains three chapters: the tools of knowledge; institutional instruments for good forest governance; and economic instruments supporting non-extractive activities. Can be downloaded (in French) from: www.btcctb.org One of the centrepieces of the exhibition. temporary exhibition, due to open at the Royal Museum for Central Africa (Tervuren, Belgium) in October 2007. Boasting a contemporary and interactive format, this multidisciplinary exhibition will allow visitors to find out more about wood in general, and tropical woods in particular, and will look at sustainable management of Central Africa's forests. Understand the forest, its role and how it is managed, and learn about wood as a material - probably the oldest yet also the most contemporary material available. The exhibition is aimed at a broad public, including families and schools. A number of special events (meetings, discussions, lectures) will be held to complement the exhibition and a Wood Collection catalogue of the RMCA's xylarium and scientific work will be made available. www.africamuseum.be Creation of the Belgian Reference Centre for Expertise on Central Africa (CRE �AC) Its tasks are to: � catalogue available expertise in Belgium (private sector, scientific research and NGOs) on issues relating to Belgian development cooperation priorities in Central Africa; � create synergies between these three platforms; � formulate recommendations for improving development activities. (...) I hope you realise that we in the east are (...) in great need of any encouragement and initiatives that will help us to launch, and in particular, consolidate the peace process and bring together communities on an objective basis. I think that your magazine will be a vital tool in this respect (...) The magazine will also hopefully be a way of diffusing the animosity felt by young people due to their perception that all the country's woes are predominantly down to Belgium and the Belgians. Not an easy task (...) 7 Jean Pierre KASUKU Lecturer at CIDEP/UO, from Goma/North Kivu. � I see this magazine as a perfect complement to La voix du Congo profond . It is innovative and should help to change perceptions of development amongst both the Congolese partners and donors. Poverty and the desire for peace, challenges such as water, roads and hygiene in our cities, not to mention electricity... For solutions to these problems we must also look to decentralisation: financial, territorial, even political. These are all inescapable issues of immediate concern to all involved in development in this challenging country. A small section devoted to practical training on development and education for peace would be welcome. � 7 � It was great to learn about specific BTC activities. The content is most interesting and we plan to use it on future radio programmes. That said, I would like to see more articles on BTC's activities in the provinces, especially South Kivu. � CL�MENT APEFE Wallonie-Bruxelles, Lubumbashi The Forests of the Congo Basin: State of the Forest 2006 Published by the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP), 256 pages A summary of available information on the state and development of forests in the Congo Basin, the threats facing them and the impact of human activity. Can be downloaded in English and French from: www.cbfp.org ou www.comifac.org CONTACTS 7 Faustin KOMBE philosopher FCK 7 Jonas SEBA Station Manager, Radio Baraka/South Kivu BELGIAN TECHNICAL COOPERATION (BTC) Belgium's pledges during the conference on sustainable management of Exploitation et gestion durable des for�ts en Afrique Centrale Robert Nasi, Jean-Claude Nguinguiri, Driss Ezzine De Blas, Ed. L'Harmattan, Paris, 2006, 404 pages This book catalogues sustainable use and management of forests in Central Africa over the past decade. forests in the DRC (Brussels, February 2007) : 1. increased budget for raising public awareness in Belgium and Europe; � La Voix du Congo profond � is a monthly magazine published by the Congolese Agriculture Ministry. It was launched in January 2007 with the technical and financial support of the BTC consultancy fund and provides a link between the central government, the decentralised departments of the Agriculture Ministry and the farmers. The magazine offers a conduit for information on the comparative advantages of each DRC province as well as business opportunities in the agricultural sector. It also features new cultivating techniques and encourages farmers to maximise their yields. Infos: email@example.com � (...) Belgium must press its partners for a truly independent justice system and laws that apply to all (...) In the water sector, we need to revitalise Regideso [the national water authority] � whilst encouraging private initiative in other areas � and focus on instilling a culture of responsibility in all Congolese: the consumer pays! Or the payer consumes! What is it about our society that makes even the best-off Congolese think they can �consume without paying� ? � It's a shame that virtually the whole magazine was taken up with BTC's activities in Kinshasa. I'd like to have more news from other provinces, especially activities in the field. Here in Lubumbashi, we hear a lot about BTC but see very few activities on the ground. � Avenue Colonel Ebeya, 15-17 Gombe, Kinshasa Democratic Republic of Congo T. + 243 81 89 46 611 E. firstname.lastname@example.org Resident Representative : Manolo Demeure DIRECTORATE-GENERAL FOR DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION (DGDC) 7 Member of a development NGO based in Lubumbashi 2. political intervention to place Congo's forests on the agenda of the next G8 meeting; 3. creation of a Belgian Task Force to study the possibility of Belgian involvement in the two fiduciary funds to be set up by the World Bank (financing conservation concessions and nature conservation measures); 4. the new Belgian Reference Centre for Expertise on Central Africa (CRE-AC) and the Royal Museum for Central Africa will monitor the working groups shortly to be set up by the Congolese government to prepare the 3rd Forest Forum in Kinshasa. 7 Abb� Justin LINGBOTO Philosopher | Economist at the S�minaire Universitaire (FCK) � I was very interested by the various special features. However, I think you should attempt some gender mainstreaming by showing that women are not only beneficiaries of many projects but are also active forces in promoting the country's development. � Forests in Post-Conflict Democratic Republic of Congo: Analysis of a Priority Agenda Published by CIFOR, the World Bank and CIRAD, 2007, 82 pages This book profiles the Congolese forestry sector at the start of 2006. It analyses the reforms implemented since 2002 and recommends priorities for the next four to five years. Can be downloaded in English and French from: www.cifor.cgiar.org �The information is relevant and the layout is very professional and attractive. In future editions, I would like to see how the work covered in the sanitation feature is progressing and also hear from the people involved, such as members of the municipal sanitation teams.� 7 BIJOU Student at UNIKIN Belgian Embassy Building du Cinquantenaire, Place du 27 Octobre B.P. 899 Kinshasa � Democratic Republic of Congo T. + 243 89 89 24 233 | +243 89 89 34 412 E. email@example.com Minister Counsellor for Development Cooperation : Paul Cartier 7 Emmanuel BUNKETE Accountant, Emergency Programme, BTC, Kinshasa � I loved the cover photo � a welcome change from the images of misery and negativity we're used to see. I'd like to hear more about BTC's activities in other provinces besides Kinshasa. � www.btcctb.org 7 ANTOINETTE UNDP employee THE MAGAZINE OF BELGIAN DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION IN THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO Carl Michiels | Rue Haute, 147 | 1000 Brussels � Belgium / Printed on FSC paper using vegetable-based ink Planting the Mwabi tree (Photo E.Vincke) Painting on canvas by Kasanda wa Tshipele, Kinshasa, 1988. (Coll. E.Vincke) According to Luba-Kasai belief, the Mwabi shade, the women are standing. The woman for whom the ceremony is being held is seated; at her feet a man sacrifices a chicken to the ancestors, with the eyes of all upon him. Depending on how the chicken dies, conclusions will be drawn regarding the woman's problem. Behind the patient can be seen a cutting; if the cutting takes, it is a sign that the ancestors have accepted the sacrifice. The ceremony is still practised today. �douard VINCKE | anthropologist CONTENT OFFICER: (Sterculia quinqueloba) is one of the � spirit trees� used to communicate with the spirits of the ancestors. These bush trees provide a bridge between nature and culture. The Mwabi is used to ask the ancestors for help in certain cases of � misfortune� (at work, illness, etc..), or to protect an individual's � beauty� (bulengela) ), i.e. the set of intrinsic qualities gifted by the ancestors which have to be protected from the envious. The painting shows the highpoint of the ceremony: the chief men are sitting in the is the unusual name of this new development magazine. � CO � stands for COngo, COoperation, COmmitment, COmmunication, etc., while the ampersand (&) suggests the special bond uniting the DRC and Belgium. The magazine is aimed primarily at key stakeholders in Congolese society: governmental and non-governmental players, the media, associations, NGOs, students, the general public and anybody else with an interest in the country's development. This special issue on the Congolese forests examines the main topics dealt with at the international conference on sustainable management of forests in the DRC, which took place in Brussels on February 26-27, 2007 at the initiative of the Belgian Minister for Development Cooperation. For more information, see the conference website: www.confordrc.org � &CO � is produced by BTC's external communications department and is distributed free of charge. EDITOR IN CHIEF: CONTRIBUTORS: Marie�Christine Boeve | EDITORIAL Claude Croizer COORDINATORS: Carol Sacr� and Julie Leduc Fr�d�ric Loore, Olivier Stevens, Elise Odiekila, Herv� Jeanmart, Am�d�e Mwarabu Kiboko, Eddy Nierynck, Edouard Vincke, Marie-Christine Boeve, Julie Leduc SCIENTIFIC ADVISER: GRAPHIC DESIGN: Aplanos | PRINTER : Imprimerie Philippe Lozet COVER PHOTO: Greenpeace/ Philip Reynaers | PHOTO EDITING: Constant Dupuis Thank you to all those who contributed to this issue: Lola Mukendi, Alain Huart, Jan Van Gysel, Pierre Defourny, Christelle Vancutsem, Carlos de Wasseige, Guy Debonnet, Philippe Deboeck, Yvette Kaboza, Ivette Fabbri, Camille Couralet, Marc Languy, Geert Lejeune, Lutete Vangu, Olivier Mushiete, Olivier Servais, Th�odore Trefon, Jean Nke Ndih, Th�ophile Gata and to BTC's team in the DRC. This issue is available in English, French and Dutch.