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What causes deforestation in the Democratic Republic of Congo?

  • Depths of forest, DRC
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    Bobulix via flickr/CC 2.0

As DRC implements the UN programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD+), Raymond Samndong, Arild Vatn and colleagues assess the causes of deforestation in two of the programme's pilots in the Équateur province. 

What causes deforestation in the Democratic Republic of Congo?

Institutional analysis of causes of deforestation in REDD+ pilot sites in the Equateur province: Implication for REDD+ in the Democratic Republic of Congo

The study found that agricultural expansion through shifting cultivation is the main proximate cause of deforestation in the Équateur province of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and that this activity is accelerated by logging. 

"As DRC moves from REDD+ readiness to implementation, analysis of the causes of deforestation at the local level is paramount. The present study contributes to this by assessing both proximate and underlying causes of deforestation in two REDD+ pilots of the Équateur province. The study found that agricultural expansion through shifting cultivation is the main proximate cause of deforestation. This activity is accelerated by logging that simplifies clearing of land. Logging also contributes to the total biomass loss from the forest. Shifting cultivation is driven by the poverty conditions of the study area. Poverty is also linked to the political and institutional structures of forest governance. These structures are controlled by political elites who influence local decisions to clear forests. While actions to curb deforestation might be challenging, this study suggests that addressing the underlying causes through effective land use planning and developing robust accountable institutions while providing alternative economic opportunities to the local population are necessary".

Published 23. March 2018 - 14:50 - Updated 23. March 2018 - 14:50

Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU)

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