State of the forests of central Africa: a new report to foster better management of Congo Basin forest ecosystems

Just out 12 July 2022
The 2021 report on the state of forests in central Africa was officially presented on 7 July Libreville (Gabon), alongside the 19th Meeting of the Parties to the Congo Basin Forest Partnership, which was celebrating its 20th anniversary. Some 20 CIRAD scientists were involved in drafting the report.
Congo Basin forest on the Sangha River, Cameroon © C. Doumenge, CIRAD
Congo Basin forest on the Sangha River, Cameroon © C. Doumenge, CIRAD

Congo Basin forest on the Sangha River, Cameroon © C. Doumenge, CIRAD

"The State of the Forests of central Africa 2021 report involved 152 authors specializing in Congo Basin forest issues. Those authors come from research organizations, technical and financial partners, international organizations, civil society organizations, development players, State players and independent researchers", says Richard Eba’a, Regional Coordinator of CIFOR's Central Africa Office and the report's lead author.

"The report is a directory of tangible data on the forests of the Congo Basin, aimed at helping policymakers from the central African States make forest management decisions", COMIFAC Executive Secretary Hervé Martial Maidou adds. The report pinpoints the main challenges to be tackled in order to manage the forest ecosystems of the Congo Basin sustainably and improve livelihoods and living conditions for local and indigenous people. 

This year's State of the Forests of central Africa report is the seventh in a series published since 2005. It puts the forest ecosystems of central Africa and their management environment into perspective, in thirteen chapters and four parts:

  • The first assesses the state of the region's forest resources, which are increasingly recognized worldwide as vital for carbon sequestration and biodiversity conservation;
  • The second presents the Congo Basin forests in international discourse;
  • The third sets out the emerging issues for central African forests;
  • The fourth covers the issues and challenges for the Congo Basin forests, focusing on land use planning, forest landscape restoration and the rights of local and indigenous peoples.

Some 22 CIRAD scientists participated in the report, including:

  • Guillaume Lescuyer, a socioeconomist, who was one the editors
  • Mathieu Bourgarel, an epidemiologist based in Harare, Zimbabwe, who coordinated the chapter on "Emergence/Re-emergence of Infectious Agents and Epidemic Risks in Central African Forests"
  • Philippe Guizol, a forest specialist based in Yaoundé, Cameroon, who coordinated the chapters on "Land Use Planning and Impacts on the Sustainable Management of Forest Ecosystems in Central Africa" and "Forest landscape Restoration (FLR) in Central Africa".

This report on the state of the Forests of central Africa, published by the Commission of Central African Forests (COMIFAC) through its Central Africa Forests Observatory (OFAC), was produced with support from the European Union through the RIOFAC project to strengthen and institutionalize the Central Africa Forests Observatory. It is one of OFAC's flagship publications. Over the years, it has become a reference document on a regional and global level, for anyone interested in the management of forest ecosystems in central Africa, their role in global equilibria and the issues that will shape their future.

Download the report

About OFAC
The Central Africa Forests Observatory, founded in 2007, is a specialist unit of the Commission of Central African Forests (COMIFAC) that provides up-to-date, relevant data on the region's ecosystems and forests, to inform policymaking and promote better natural resource governance and sustainable management.

About the RIOFAC project
The RIOFAC (Strengthening and institutionalizing the Central Africa Forest Observatory ) project, funded by the European Union, aims to help OFAC, as an institutionally integrated part of COMIFAC, produce up-to-date, appropriate information on the forests of central Africa, to inform the drafting of public sustainable development policy. It is implemented by a consortium comprising the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), the French Agricultural Research Centre for International development (CIRAD), the FRM Ingénierie firm and the Catholic University of Louvain (UCL).

About the Congo Basin Forest partnership (CBFP)
The partnership, launched in 2002, associates almost 120 partners in seven colleges working for the forest ecosystems of the Congo Basin. More than 500 people attend its meeting of parties each year. The CBFP celebrated its 20th anniversary at its 19th meeting of parties in Libreville (Gabon) from 5 to 8 July 2022. The presentations made by nine participants from CIRAD, as part of the Research network on the forests of central Africa (R2FAC), are available on the Forests and Societies research unit website.