Reconciling the Preservation of the Forests and the Improvement of Local Living Conditions

The landscape of Yangambi, in the province of Tshopo, is home to an important biosphere reserve. However, the loss of forest cover intended for exploitation endangers this reserve. The production of charcoal and firewood is one of the main causes of this deforestation. In addition to this bleak picture, there is also slash and burn agriculture. Estimated at more than 200,000 inhabitants, the population of Yangambi lives from charcoal production, firewood, agriculture, hunting and fishing.

For Paolo Cerruti, who is in charge of the Forests project, CIFOR is carrying out several activities in Yangambi to save the reserve and restore degraded land, such as reforestation and raising awareness among the population. To date, more than 240,000 trees of different species have already been planted. The objective is to reach 1.5 million trees by 2021.

Since the forest is one of the key elements in the economy of this population, how can its preservation be reconciled with the improvement of the socio-economic conditions of the population? This is what this project aims to explore.

To do this, journalists will first travel to Kisangani to interview different project managers. Then, they will go down to Yangambi to understand how the different strategies of the project to win this bet, on the one hand, and know how the population apprehends this idea, and also to know how they feel about degree of ownership or involvement on the other hand.