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Project May 12, 2020

Will Community Forests Save Redwoods From Extinction in Haut Katanga?



According to NGOs, redwoods are at risk of extinction in Kasenga, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo's Haut-Katanga province. In a recent report, two NGOs uncovered the resurgence of an illegal redwood trafficking network, which is currently banned in the DRC.

Rather than choosing to focus only on this illicit traffic into China, where demand for neo-antique furniture is increasing, and on the risks of extinction of the fragile species, this project also focuses on ongoing redwood conservation efforts.

This mainly takes the form of a community forest project, a concept piloted in southeastern DRC, in Haut-Katanga, by the FAO. The FAO organizes farming communities and forest protectors. After applying for and getting concessions from the government for the wooded savanna of the miombo forests, the clear forests in the south of the region, they are supposed to manage their forests efficiently.

This project reports on villages in the region, as well as the Kasenga territory, the epicenter of redwood exploitation, and where the species is known to be of high quality. It also covers:

  1. The state of redwood logging and its preservation since the government decided to suspend logging.
  2. The reasons for the activism by civil society leaders, including the Catholic Church.
  3. The opportunities and limitations of community forests as a response to the risk of extinction of the endangered redwood species.