Rainforest Trust: Saving carbon-rich swamp forest in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Only 14% of land in the Democratic Republic of Congo is under formal protection – leaving millions of acres of rainforest and resident wildlife species vulnerable to poaching, habitat degradation and loss.
Over the past year, the Global Returns Project has supported Rainforest Trust (and their partner Les Amis des Bonobos du Congo) in their efforts to extend the Ekolo ya Bonobo Community Reserve by 80,000 acres.
The Ekolo ya Bonobo Community Reserve lies at the north-western edge of Central Africa’s largest expanse of forest and wetlands, the Cuvette Centrale. The landscape includes swamp forests and peatlands, making it one of the most carbon-rich ecosystems on earth.
This expansion will leverage decades of work with local communities to manage the original Ekolo ya Bonobo Community Reserve for endangered species, with community self-governance at the core. Rainforest Trust will help expand and train anti-poaching patrols recruited from neighbouring communities, while also providing them with the legal right to prosecute poachers.
The additional area of reserve will keep over 32.5 million metric tonnes of CO2e locked up. It will also protect several key fauna species including the Giant Ground Pangolin, Grey Parrot and Leopard, as well as at least 209 plant species from 61 families, including several tree species with high carbon-sequestration properties.