Mongabay: Saving the forests of the Congo Basin: Q&A with author Meindert Brouwer

 

 

Central African Forests Forever, first published in 2017, takes readers to the heart of the continent, introducing them to the people and wildlife of this region.

 

Its author, independent communications consultant Meindert Brouwer, says the book also functions as a tool for sharing information about efforts to address poverty and environmental issues in the region.

 

Mongabay spoke with Brouwer to learn more about his motivations and the reception of his work in Central Africa.

 

 

It was an ambitious project from the start: to capture the Congo Basin rainforest in the pages of a book. Stretching across an area larger than Saudi Arabia, the world’s second-largest rainforest straddles six countries in Central Africa. Many are crippled by corruption, civil conflict, and seemingly solution-less problems at the intersection of poverty and environmental stewardship. The loss of the Congo Basin’s forests has lurched along more slowly than in the Amazon rainforest or the jungles of Southeast Asia, but many experts worry that that trend won’t hold. The region’s growing population and the need for economic development have already led to the rising destruction of unique ecosystems to make way for farms, mines and timber plantations.

 

 

Perhaps such a book could introduce the world to this little-known part of Africa, highlighting why it needs protection and what’s working there to improve the lives of its inhabitants, thought Meindert Brouwer. The independent communications consultant with a quarter century of experience in conservation, much of it in Central Africa, knew it would be a challenge from the start. The paradox was that because the Congo Basin is less familiar to many people than the Amazon, it would be harder to rally the support necessary to launch the project.

 

 

Indeed, Brouwer said, finding an initial funder took time. But since then, the book’s momentum has led the project in new directions. Brouwer quickly saw that the value of the book, Central African Forests Forever, first planned only for digital publication, lay not just in its distribution beyond Central Africa, but within the region as well. It’s become a tool, Brouwer said, that facilitates the exchange of ideas across the heart of the continent, so much so that few copies remain of the edition in French, the lingua franca in most Congo Basin countries.

Mongabay spoke with Brouwer recently from his office in the Netherlands.

 

Mongabay: Why did you decide to write and put together this book in the first place?

Meindert Brouwer: I was at an international climate conference, showing my [previous] book about non-timber forest products from the Amazon rainforest many years ago. This woman from Africa said, “Write a book about the Congo Basin rainforest.” And so, I said, “I will.” That’s personal — I promised her to do this. But the main reason to write his book is to raise awareness about the very existence of the Congo Basin rainforest. When you’re in the street and you mention the word “rainforest” in Europe and the United States, everybody thinks of the Amazon. Hardly anyone knows about the Congo Basin rainforest. This book is meant to make the Congo Basin rainforest better known.

 

 

Read more...

Go back

CBFP News

Linking local people's perception of wildlife and conservation to livelihood and poaching alleviation: A case study of the Dja biosphere reserve, Cameroon

This Paper examines how people's livelihoods and perceptions of wildlife are related to self-reported poaching(here defined as commercial bushmeat hunting) in 25 villages at the northern buffer zone of the Dja Biosphere Reserve, East Cameroon. Using a six-point Likert scale questionnaire among 263 households interviewed form March to June 2017, the following hypothesis were tested: (1) Households with positive perceptions of wildlife are less involved in poaching; (2) Positive perceptions of wildlife are linked to sustainable livelihood improvement of households; and (3) Sustainable livelihood improvement of households leads to poaching alleviation.

Read more …

Forest Watch May 2019: Will global deforestation finally be on the agenda at the EU elections?

To read: Global deforestation becoming one of the top issues in the European elections ; Commission presidency candidate says he would tackle human rights abuses in EU imports; Huge illegal forest trade deal in Democratic Republic of Congo: urgent EU action is required; Funders must rethink the false agro-industrial park solution...

Read more …

China in Cameroon’s forests: A review of issues and progress for livelihoods and sustainability

This report introduces the nature and scale of the issues involved, and how the China- Africa Forest Governance Project has engaged with them. It analyses the impact of Chinese-linked investments and companies on forests and livelihoods in the forest and non-forest sectors – agro-industries, mining and infrastructure. The report describes the efforts made through the project to improve policy and practice in China-Cameroon forest issues and outlines some ways forward.

Read more …

China to host World Environment Day 2019 on air pollution

Approximately 7 million people worldwide die prematurely each year from air pollution, with about 4 million of these deaths occurring in Asia-Pacific. World Environment Day 2019 will urge governments, industry, communities, and individuals to come together to explore renewable energy and green technologies, and improve air quality in cities and regions across the world.

Read more …

iucncongress2020-Host a session during the Forum

Organisations and individuals can propose hosting a session during the Forum of the IUCN World Conservation Congress. Hosting a session is an excellent opportunity to inform debate and drive conservation action on the issues that matter most to you or your organisation. The call for proposals will be open from 6 May to 17 July 2019.

Read more …

EU Communication (2019) on Stepping up EU Action against Deforestation and Forest Degradation

On 14 December, the European Commission published a Roadmap on the EU initiative on Stepping up EU Action against Deforestation and Forest Degradation. The Roadmap sets out the context and objectives of the initiative and the foreseen consultation, and was open for feedback until 15 January 2019 via this page....

Read more …

Summary of the Public Consultation Stepping up EU Action against Deforestation and Forest Degradation

The public  consultation  was  open  from 14 January  2019until 25 February  2019.  It  received  955 responses,  including  97  attachments.This summary  report presents the headline  results  from  the public consultation, under each section of the survey questionnaire.

Read more …

IISD- 2019 Meetings of the Conferences of the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions

Work continued apace on Thursday at the 2019 meetings of the Conferences of the Parties (COPs) to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm (BRS) Conventions. On the penultimate day of the meetings, delegates convened in plenary in the morning to look into issues of joint concern, as well as work related to the Rotterdam Convention (RC).

Read more …

CBFP News Archive

2019

Forest Watch April 2019
Forest Watch March 2019