[BFT-Special Newsletter] Tropical timber and forests -Are logging concessions threatening the peatlands of the Democratic Republic of the Congo?



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 In a public letter signed by 30 researchers and addressed to the Norwegian Ministry of the Climate and the Environment, Prof. Simon Lewis (University of Leeds) and his colleagues condemned the potentially negative impact of logging in the swamps of the Congolese cuvette, which is partly covered by peatlands. The letter called on Norway to deny funding for the Sustainable Management of DRC Forests Programme (DRC) submitted in 2017 by the French Development Agency (AFD). The program aims to revamp legal forest logging which has been on the decline in the country and ensure better forest resource management by providing assistance to national forest administrations and provincial governments and improving governance.



 Under the legislation of the DRC and the Republic of the Congo, swamps can be included in concessions attributed to logging companies. While this rarely happens in the Republic of the Congo, in the DRC close to 4.5 million hectares, or 26% of the country’s swamps, are either fully or partially covered by close to 30 concessions. The AFD in particular has come under criticism for not considering potential damage forest logging in these concessions could cause to the peatlands. This observation is supported by explicit reference to the damage inflicted on peatlands in Indonesia by this type of logging activity .



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