West and Central Africa

Preserving the forests of the Congo Basin

u003cpu003eCentral Africa is home to the second largest rainforest in the world, the Congo Basin. This unique ecosystem stores over u003ca href=u0022https://www.cifor.org/library/7279/u0022 target=u0022_blanku0022 style=u0022color:#6FC055;u0022u003e25-30% of the world’s rainforest carbon stocksu003c/au003e and is home to rich biodiversity such as endangered gorillas, okapis, chimpanzees, bonobos and forest elephants, as well as thousands of species of birds and trees. It also supports the livelihoods of u003ca href=u0022https://www.cifor.org/library/7292/u0022 target=u0022_blanku0022 style=u0022color:#6FC055;u0022u003eover 60 million peopleu003c/au003e, who depend directly or indirectly on the forest to meet their food, shelter and energy needs.u003c/pu003enu003cpu003eCIFOR’s work in Central Africa addresses research, policy and technical gaps to ensure the sustainable management of the Congo Basin, making sure the region’s vast forest resources contribute to the well-being of all.u003c/pu003e

About our work in West and Central Africa

CIFOR’s work in Central Africa addresses research, policy and technical gaps to ensure the sustainable management of the Congo Basin, making sure the region’s vast forest resources contribute to the well-being of all.

Research topics

Artisanal logging and formalization of domestic timber markets

u003cpu003eIllegal logging is a major driver of forest degradation in Central Africa. It fosters vicious cycles of corruption and elite capture, harming the economies of tropical timber-producer countries, and depriving governments from much-needed revenues that should benefit all citizens. CIFOR is working to promote better national forest policies that provide an adequate response to the challenges associated with illegal logging and the growth of the domestic timber sector, its impact on forests, its formalization, and its links to exports.u003c/pu003ennu003cpu003ePublications:u003c/pu003enu003culu003enu003cliu003eu003ca href=u0022https://www.cifor.org/library/7274/u0022 style=u0022color: #6FC055;u0022u003eIllegal logging in Sub-Saharan Africa: A nesting dollu003c/au003eu003c/liu003enu003cliu003eu003ca href=u0022https://www.cifor.org/library/6880/u0022 style=u0022color: #6FC055;u0022u003eMukula (rosewood) trade between China and Zambiau003c/au003eu003c/liu003enu003cliu003eu003ca href=u0022https://www.cifor.org/library/3421/u0022 style=u0022color: #6FC055;u0022u003eThe domestic market for small-scale chainsaw milling in Cameroon: Present situation, opportunities and challengesu003c/au003eu003c/liu003eu003c/ulu003e

Sustainable consumption of wild meat and food security

u003cpu003eWild meat plays a crucial role in the diets and livelihoods of people in the Congo Basin. However, increasing hunting pressure has tangible effects on wildlife and is likely to have long term impacts on forest ecosystems. CIFOR is working to promote sustainable wildlife management and ensure that wildlife can provide continuous nutrition and income, and make a considerable contribution to the alleviation of poverty as well as to safeguarding human and environmental health.u003c/pu003ennu003cpu003ePublications: u003c/pu003enu003culu003enu003cliu003eu003ca href=u0022https://www.cifor.org/library/7025/u0022 style=u0022color: #6FC055;u0022u003eMammal Depletion Processes as Evidenced From Spatially Explicit and Temporal Local Ecological Knowledgeu003c/au003eu003c/liu003enu003cliu003eu003ca href=u0022https://www.cifor.org/library/7288/u0022 style=u0022color: #6FC055;u0022u003eFrom the Forest to the Dish: A Comprehensive Study of the Wildmeat Value Chain in Yangambi, Democratic Republic of Congou003c/au003eu003c/liu003enu003c/ulu003e

Sustainable woodfuel value chains

u003cpu003eWoodfuel is the main source of domestic energy for most households in Central Africa, contributing to the food security and nutritional needs of millions of people. Due to the lack of alternative energy sources and growing charcoal demand from urban centers, woodfuel production is expected to increase in the coming decades. This is why CIFOR is working to improve woodfuel governance and promote more sustainable value chains.u003c/pu003ennu003cpu003ePublications: u003c/pu003enu003culu003enu003cliu003eu003ca href=u0022https://www.cifor.org/library/7294/u0022 style=u0022color: #6FC055;u0022u003eEfficiency of charcoal production in Sub-Saharan Africa: Solutions beyond the kilnu003c/au003eu003c/liu003enu003cliu003eu003ca href=u0022https://www.cifor.org/library/7293/u0022 style=u0022color: #6FC055;u0022u003eWoodfuel policies and practices in selected countries in Sub-Saharan Africa – a critical reviewu003c/au003eu003c/liu003enu003cliu003eu003ca href=u0022https://www.cifor.org/library/6831/u0022 style=u0022color: #6FC055;u0022u003eAnalyse de la chaîne de légalité des filières de sciage artisanal et du bois énergie à Kisangani (R.D.C)u003c/au003eu003c/liu003enu003c/ulu003e

Restoration of degraded lands

u003cpu003eExacerbated by climate change and poor management of agricultural lands, forest degradation threatens the ecological functions of the Congo Basin. This is why CIFOR is committed to support Central African countries meet their commitments under the AFR100 initiative and restore the region’s degraded lands into resilient landscapes that contribute to sustainable development.u003c/pu003ennu003cpu003ePublications: u003c/pu003enu003culu003enu003cliu003eu003ca href=u0022https://www.cifor.org/library/6990/ u0022 style=u0022color: #6FC055;u0022u003eReshaping the terrain: Forest and landscape restoration in Cameroonu003c/au003eu003c/liu003enu003cliu003eu003ca href=u0022https://www.cifor.org/library/6657/u0022 style=u0022color: #6FC055;u0022u003eCould REDD+ mechanisms induce logging companies to reduce forest degradation in Central Africa?u003c/au003eu003c/liu003enu003c/ulu003en

Forests and climate change

u003cpu003eCIFOR’s work aims to provide policymakers, practitioners and local communities with the information, analysis and tools they need to implement policies and projects for adaptation to climate change and reduction of carbon emissions in the forests of the Congo Basin.u003c/pu003ennu003cpu003ePublications: u003c/pu003enu003culu003enu003cliu003eu003ca href=u0022https://www.cifor.org/library/7051/ u0022 style=u0022color: #6FC055;u0022u003eOFAC-Brief : Contributions of Central African countries to combat climate change: The urgent need for intersectorial coordinationu003c/au003eu003c/liu003enu003cliu003eu003ca href=u0022https://www.cifor.org/library/7265/u0022 style=u0022color: #6FC055;u0022u003eMapping/assessing carbon stocks in the perspective of Payment for Environmental Services (PES) for rural communities in East Cameroonu003c/au003eu003c/liu003enu003c/ulu003e

Research site

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Research projects


Funded by the European Union, the Formation, Recherche et Environnement dans la Tshopo (FORETS) project in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) aims to promote the sustainable management of the Yangambi Biosphere Reserve by protecting the environment, promoting local development, and conducting top-notch research on the ground. It also supports graduate and doctoral degree programmes in sustainable forest management at the University of Kisangani, fostering the next generation of Congolese forest experts.
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The project Strengthening and Institutionalization of the Central African Forest Observatory (RIOFAC) supports the Central Africa Forest Observatory (OFAC), an entity within the Central African Forest Commission (COMIFAC), in the production of updated and relevant information on the forests of Central Africa with the aim to inform policy-making for sustainable development. This project is financed by the European Union.
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Governing Multifunctional Landscapes in Sub-Saharan Africa

The Governing Multifunctional Landscapes in Sub-Saharan Africa project, funded by the European Union, addresses key knowledge, technical and policy gaps related to forest and land governance, trade in informal and legal timber products, deforestation-related commodity-based agribusiness, woodfuel and ultimately sustainable forest and land-use management and improvement of livelihoods. The action supports the FLEGT Action Plan (AP), as well other government- and industry-led processes in partner countries aimed at fostering good governance, decrease deforestation and improve livelihoods.
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Global Comparative Study on REDD+

The Global Comparative Study on REDD+ project funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Corporation, aims at assessing the actual impacts of REDD+ policies in the DRC.
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The Promouvoir et Formaliser l’Exploitation Artisanale de bois d’œuvre en Afrique Centrale project funded the French Development Agency covers the DRC and Cameroon. It aims at reducing rural forests degradation by formalizing artisanal logging.

Our impact

u003culu003eu003cliu003eu003cstrongu003eRevalorization of Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFP) in Central Africau003c/strongu003e – Thanks to CIFOR’s sustained engagement, the Central African Forest Commission (COMIFAC) published in 2016 new regional guidelines to promote the sustainable use of NTFP. At the country level, Cameroon changed its institutional framework to recognize their potential economic contribution to rural households.u003c/liu003enu003cliu003eu003cstrongu003eSustainable forest managementu003c/strongu003e – CIFOR scientists have been pioneers in the development of criteria and indicators to determine if forests are managed sustainably, which have been adopted now across Central Africa. They have also provided expert support to develop certification processes.u003c/liu003enu003cliu003eu003cstrongu003eFormalization of domestic timber marketsu003c/strongu003e – Since 2010 CIFOR has conducted several studies on Central Africa’s domestic timber markets, leading to the mainstreaming of the issue, and in many cases changes in public policies. In the case of Cameroon, for example, the government has adopted a monitoring system to track local timber consumption.u003c/liu003enu003cliu003eu003cstrongu003eInforming REDD+ policyu003c/strongu003e – CIFOR’s Global Comparative Study (GCS) program has become a reference for information on forests and climate change mitigation, effectively informing policymaking at the national and regional level.u003c/liu003enu003c/ulu003e


u003cdiv style=u0022width:50%; float:left;u0022u003enu003culu003eu003cliu003eAfrica Museumu003c/liu003eu003cliu003eANAFORu003c/liu003eu003cliu003eANCOVAu003c/liu003eu003cliu003eBotanic Garden Meiseu003c/liu003eu003cliu003eCameroon Ecologyu003c/liu003eu003cliu003eCBFPu003c/liu003eu003cliu003eCERADu003c/liu003eu003cliu003eCIRADu003c/liu003eu003cliu003eCOMIFACu003c/liu003eu003cliu003eEuropean Unionu003c/liu003eu003cliu003eFAOu003c/liu003eu003cliu003eGIZu003c/liu003eu003cliu003eI2Du003c/liu003eu003c/ulu003enu003c/divu003enu003cdiv style=u0022width:50%; float:right;u0022u003enu003culu003eu003cliu003eICRAFu003c/liu003eu003cliu003eIITAu003c/liu003eu003cliu003eINERAu003c/liu003eu003cliu003eIRDu003c/liu003eu003cliu003eMEDD (RDC)u003c/liu003eu003cliu003eMINEPDEDu003c/liu003eu003cliu003eMINFOFu003c/liu003eu003cliu003eRu0026SDu003c/liu003eu003cliu003eUniversity of Doualau003c/liu003eu003cliu003eUniversity of Kisanganiu003c/liu003eu003cliu003eUniversity of Marouau003c/liu003eu003cliu003eWWFu003c/liu003eu003c/ulu003enu003c/divu003e