Central Africa is home to the second largest rainforest on earth—the Congo Basin Forest. This vast forest contains an extraordinary array of plants and animals, many of which are only found in these unique landscapes. But it is not just animals that call these forests home—the lives of millions of people are inextricably linked with the existence of these rich forests.
The preservation of the Congo Basin Forest is paramount to the health and well-being of the people of Central Africa and the world. While the remoteness of many of these forests has helped protect them from over-exploitation and uncontrolled development, growing populations and profitable international markets are looming threats. Additionally, in certain areas poor logging practices, artisanal and industrial mining, slash and burn agriculture systems, and a rising demand for charcoal fuel are taking an increasingly heavy toll on these forests. However, balancing the needs of forest communities with land conservation efforts is an essential part of protecting the wellbeing of the forests and those that depend on them.
The U.S. Forest Service is committed to working collaboratively with its range of partners to promote the sustainable management of these diverse forests and landscapes as well as to encourage the conservation of their valuable and unique biodiversity. Regionally, the U.S. Forest Service works to coordinate and harmonize approaches, providing technical information, expertise, training, and support to planning and governance bodies. At the national level, the U.S. Forest Service works with universities, local and international non-governmental organizations, and the governments of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of the Congo, Cameroon, and Gabon to help develop the institutions and mechanisms necessary to plan, analyze, manage, monitor, and protect the rich forest and natural resources that each country holds.
With support from the U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Forest Service International Programs provides targeted technical assistance and builds capacity to improve forest and land management and to address the global threats of biodiversity loss and climate change.
The U.S. Forest Service Central Africa Program works with governments, international and local NGOs, and universities across the region.