The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has said that it plans to remove a moratorium on industrial logging in the Congo Basin. At 500 million acres, it is larger than the state of Alaska, twice the size of Texas, and contains the second-largest tract of tropical rainforest in the world.
According to Digital Journal, the moratorium was put in place in 2002 in order for the government to regain control of the country’s timber industry, which was rife with illegal logging. All but one-tenth of the Congo Basin was protected from any kind of destructive behavior. Now, the ban is being lifted in order to boost government revenues.
This goes against the very spirit of the Paris climate change agreement made last December, in which the DRC promised to plant 3 million hectares of trees by 2025 in order to soak up some of their carbon emissions.
"At a time when the global community is working together to protect the world’s last rainforests, a vital defense against climate change, the DRC government seems to be undermining the commitment to reducing emissions that it presented in Paris," said Lars Løvold of Rainforest Foundation Norway (RFN) in a statement from Greenpeace.
Ten thousand species of tropical plants reside in the Congo Basin, 30 percent of which are unique in the world. A plethora of endangered wildlife, including elephants, chimpanzees, bonobos, and lowland and mountain gorillas, also inhabit these forests – and this logging will serve to benefit precisely none of them.