Rich tropical forests

The tropical forests of the northern enclave of Cabinda are rich in plants and wildlife.

But they also hold a valuable economic resource for the region - timber. Tropical woods such as white tola (Gossweilerodendron balsamiferum) and limba (Terminalia superba) fetch good prices on the international market.

Pulling together on conservation

A cross-border forest scheme – known as the Mayombe Forest Transboundary Initiative – has been set up to cover areas of the Mayombe forest in Angola, the DR Congo and Congo.

However, some woods come from tree species which are in decline. Many tropical trees grow in mature lowland forests which have been little-disturbed and once felled, they cannot easily be replaced.

Over-logging and deforestation for farm land are a huge threat to the unique forest environments of Cabinda and other forest areas of northern Angola and the Congo basin - see Wildlife.

The Congo Forest Basin Partnership was created in 2002 to develop agreements between government, private industry and local bodies in Angola, the DR Congo and Congo. The aim of the Partnership is to help protect the unique habit of the Mayombe Forest.

Such schemes also aim to provide education about the rich biodiversity of rainforest regions and their importance to the health of the planet. But in developing countries where poverty is still a huge problem, locals have to be able to make a living while protecting the forests.

Wildlife and ecology tourism is one area where local people can benefit directly from their environment.