The Congo Basin forest is the second largest contiguous moist tropical forest in the world. It plays a key role in securing the livelihoods of millions of Central African citizens. The forest supplies vital regional and worldwide ecological and climatic services.
From a global perspective the Congo Basin forest is especially important with respect to the huge and unique biodiversity (more than 10,000 species of plants, 1,000 species of birds and 400 species of mammals) and the climate-relevant functions of the largely intact tropical forest.
The Congo Basin forest is spread over the territory of six countries ? Cameroon, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
But, despite enormous stocks of natural resources such as minerals (tin, coltan, diamond, copper, cobalt, uranium, zinc, gold, nickel), energy (oil, methane gas and high potential hydraulic and solar energy), forest (timber and nonwood products including medicinal plants and wildlife) and water, the people in the DRC are among the poorest in the world. The situation of the rural population, in particular in the regions bordering immediately on the natural reserves, is marked by poverty, food insecurity and local conflicts.
The abundance of natural resources in the DRC has not, throughout its history, benefited the Congolese people. Mismanagement has led to the paradox of an economically poor people in a naturally rich country. 
 ?Securing local forest values in the DRC is the top priority? (Forests in postconflict Democratic Republic of Congo, Analysis of a Priority Agenda, ? 2007 CIFOR, The World Bank and CIRAD).
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|Author(s)||Dr Patrice Yamba T. Kantu|
|Publisher||Institute for Environmental Security|
|Date / Journal Vol No.||30 September 2008|
Democratic Republic of Congo