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Feature package of Congo Basin forest photos, stories & videos

Stretching across central Africa, the Congo Basin forest is the second largest tract of rainforest in the world and a lifeline for more than 60 million people providing food and income for many remote communities, storing huge amounts of carbon, supporting unique ecosystems and regulating the flow of the major rivers across Central Africa. Yet the Congo's forests are being cleared at an alarming rate amid global demand for the continent's minerals, energy and wood resources. Current methods and rates of extracting these resources are unsustainable and threatening the future of the forest, and the people who rely on it.

As the Congo Basin is threatened, more research is needed to help protect the forest. The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) is currently supporting a new generation of researchers and working to improve the management of the Congo Basin forest and address the needs and perspectives of the people who depend on the forest for their livelihoods.

Media are invited to use a series of 11 colourful feature stories, nine videos and hundreds of photographs from Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo, exploring some of the threats facing the Congo Basin, and efforts by communities, governments, scientists and NGOs to address those threats.

Issues covered include:

Under Threat: Deforestation pressure on Congo Basin forests increasing
The Congo Basin forest is a lifeline for more than 60 million people. It generates income from timber exploitation, stores huge amounts of carbon, supports unique ecosystems, and regulates the flow of the major rivers across Central Africa. Yet the forest is being cleared at an alarming rate amid global demand for its mineral, energy and wood resources.

Young Leaders: The future of the Congo's forestry research
From elephant shrews to ecosystems, Congolese Masters and PhD students at the University of Kisangani in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are unravelling the mysteries of their country's vast forests.

Taming Okok: Domesticating forest foods in Cameroon
Demand for Okok, a leafy vine found across the Congo Basin, is outstripping supply. To counter the increasingly unsustainable harvest, villagers in Cameroon are establishing plantations of the vine inside the forest.

Up the river and paddling hard: Linking climate change adaptation and mitigation in the Congo Basin
People in the remote town of Lukolela 540 km from Kinshasa on the Congo River in the Democratic Republic of Congo are already feeling the effects of climate change. But with the help of a new CIFOR project, they're planning ways to reduce its impact on their daily lives.

Bushmeat Stories: Voices from the Congo Basin
Hunters, traders, scientists and conservationists all view bushmeat differently. But they all agree on one thing the animals are disappearing.

Cutting through: Formalising Cameroon's huge domestic timber market
New research has revealed that Cameroon's domestic, informal timber market is as large as the country's industrial export market. The Government is now trying to bring rural chainsaw loggers and traders into the fold and formalise the huge sector.

Counting carbon: Measuring carbon stocks in logging concessions in Cameroon
Scientists in Cameroon are hoping to bolster scientific evidence that shows sustainable timber production in forests logged by private companies and local communities could increase carbon stocks thus reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming.

Contact: Michelle Kovacevic
Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)

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