Initial state

Congo Basin residents massively devastate tropical forests in order to procure “bread and butter”. Gained agricultural land loses its fertility after a few production cycles and the process of forest devastation keeps going. Highly valuable natural ecosystems have been lost with global consequences; beside other results it significantly supports the climate change by releasing carbon dioxide and influencing the water cycle. Regions affected by massive deforestation and its negative consequences are often the recipients of development aid, which usually brings only short-term positive effect, or is controversial.

With an area of 1 720 000 km2 (664 100 sq miles) Congo primeval forest is the second largest on the Earth. Thanks to more than 600 tree species and 10 000 animal species it is one of the world’s most diverse ecosystems. Almost half of it lies in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the rest of it is shared by the Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and the Central African Republic. The forest is essential to millions of people.

Current rate of deforestation is 10 300 km2 (3980 sq miles) per year, what is app. one third of Belgium and is equivalent to 0.6 % of summary forest area. Due to growing population the rate of deforestation keeps growing as well. Forests in Africa are burning continuously. There can be find a connection between climatic changes in Europe and the situation in Congo

In the province of Maniema, one family consumes approximately 600 m2 of agricultural area per year. In this particular case, only Balanga community counts 18,000 families. This represents an average of 10 800 000 m2 (1,080 hectares) of deforested area per year!

The only way to prevent further devastation of rainforests is to ensure sufficient food production in place for the local population.

Consequences of deforestation

Prof. Gabriel Salumu Ngolo Wa Balanga:

I was born in 1954 in Katakokombe. I was used to go bathe in Thasala lake in the Lokala savanah, which was then measuring 5 x 8 km (8 x 13 miles). I was currently suprised, that the lake is partially nonexistent and the savannah has substantially grown and now measures 7 x 9 km (11,2 x 14,5 miles) in size! 24 km2 (62 sq miles) of the rainforest disappeared.

Further finding (still Katakokombe, Kindu IV), water spring called Balanga disappeared two and half years ago. This spring supplied fresh water to ± 12 000 persons.

Another particular phenomenon, in the city of Kindu, small lake 120 x 200 m (131 x 219 yards) in size called Alfio, which was a centre of local recreation youth went there to bathe, also suddenly disappeared.

Finally, I want to mention narrowing of the river channel Lotola 8 km in lenght, which measured 4 m (4.4 yards) in width. Today, it does not measure more than 2.5 m (2,7 yards), length is the same.

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