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Story Publication logo January 23, 2023

Forest: In DRC, Timber Creates Poverty (French)


wood in forest

The exploitation of forests in the Congo does not benefit the local community and Indigenous peoples...


This story excerpt was translated from French. To read the original story in full, visit EnviroNews. You may also view the original story on the Rainforest Journalism Fund website here. Our website is available in English, Spanish, bahasa Indonesia, French, and Portuguese.

Image by EnviroNews. DRC, 2023.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo has the second largest forest in the world after Brazil. Estimated at nearly 155 million hectares, the DRC's forest area attracts timber industry players around the world. However, the exploitation of timber in several forest provinces, especially by Chinese companies, poses a real problem, notably because of corruption at all levels, the lack of enforcement of forestry laws and impunity.

The Wood of Poverty is an investigation we conducted in the provinces of Equateur and Tshuapa. It sheds light on the blunders, complicity and obstruction of the law committed by Chinese companies in this part of the country.

By Nelphie Mie Ngakao with the participation of Francis Mbanzulu, Elisée Boweya and Eric Bombayo

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The long journey of Congolese timber to China began in 2018, in the city of Bokatola, Ingende Territory, Equateur Province. Despite the moratorium, Maniema Union 2 has managed to obtain forest concessions and industrial timber cutting permits. This was made possible thanks to the support of the police-military authorities, under the reign of former President Joseph Kabila.

In 2019, after multiple denunciations, this company decided to change its name. It becomes Long Xin Sarlu. In 2020, it will split into two companies, one called Congo Sun Flower Development, and the other Congo King Bashing Forestry Development (COKIBAFODE).

The Chinese workers' camp in Bokatola. Image by EnviroNews. DRC, 2023.

Timber being cut in the Tshuapa province. Image by EnviroNews. DRC, 2023.

Wood cut and abandoned by COKIBAFODE in some villages of the Bokatola sector, in the territory of Ingende. Image by EnviroNews. DRC, 2023.

Wood ready for evacuation in the port of Losanganya (Bolomba Territory). Image by EnviroNews. DRC, 2023.

Jean Marie Loko, victim of the industrial wood exploitation in the DRC. Image by EnviroNews. DRC, 2023.

An unfinished school in Bombembe, Bokatola sector. Image by EnviroNews. DRC, 2023.

An unfinished health center in Bongale (Ingende). Image by EnviroNews. DRC, 2023.

Image by EnviroNews. DRC, 2023.