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Story Publication logo June 24, 2022

Mayombe Forest Under Growing Threat of Illegal Artisanal Sawing of Timber (French)

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This story excerpt was translated from French. To read the original story in full, visit L'Horizon Africain. 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 courtesy of L'Horizon Africain. Democratic Republic of the Congo, 2022.

The Mayombe Forest has been under pressure since the opening in 2011 of Route nationale n°1, which is fully paved along its 601 kilometers between Pointe-Noire and Brazzaville. Among the pressures, it has brought illegal, artisanal sawing. One day, not far from the village of Doumanga, in the District of Mvouti, some 70 kilometers east of Pointe-Noire, in the heart of the mountainous Mayombe, we took the measure of this artisanal tree-felling activity. Whatever one may say, it is a threat to the existence of the forest.


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Birds fly here and there in the sky or answer each other in the treetops, insects strut in space. All this under a canopy where the air moistened by these giant, secular trees sprinkles nature with a bewitching perfume […]. It is an understatement to say that if paradise has a face, it is in Mayombe that one should come to contemplate it.

But the Edenic atmosphere contrasts with violent humming sounds which are heard in the distance and become more precise as one wanders into the bowels of the forest. And, while creaking as if to express their pain, trees fall loosely, one after the other.


Wood cut and exposed on the side of National Road No. 1, ready to be evacuated to Pointe-Noire. Image courtesy of L'Horizon Africain. Democratic Republic of the Congo, 2022.

Our reporter in front of a fallen tree stump. Image courtesy of L'Horizon Africain. Democratic Republic of the Congo, 2022.