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

Resources and follow-up from the virtual FAO-EcoAgriculture Partners Roundtable

Last April 30th FAO and EcoAgriculture Partners organized a virtual Roundtable on Territorial Perspectives for Development, in which over 170 people participated.

Read more …

ATIBT -CBFP: Private Sector mobilized around the CBFP Facilitator of the Federal Republic of Germany

ATIBT co-facilitated the mobilization of the private sector of the timber sector to participate in the first meeting of the private sector college of Congo Basin Forest Partnership with the new facilitator Dr Christian Ruck and his team German Facilitation.

Read more …

Development and institutionalization of a PAFC certification system for the Congo basin: opening of the second public consultation on Sustainable Forest Management Certification Standard, 23 May 2020 - 22 June 2020

This second public consultation will be open for a period of 30 days from tomorrow Saturday the 23rd of May 2020 and will be closed on Monday the 22nd of June 2020. The public consultation is open to all stakeholders of forest management in the Congo Basin interested in participating to the PAFC Congo Basin certification standards development process.

Read more …

Forest defenders on the COVID-19 frontline stand ready to assist the global EU response – Fern

These efforts go hand in hand with ensuring continued responsible management of natural resources and preventing unsustainably and illegally sourced forest commodities. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, forest-monitoring organisations Observatoire de la Gouvernance Forestière (OGF) and Réseau des observateurs indépendants des ressources naturelles (RENOI) are set to carry out COVID awareness-raising in at-risk forest areas, and will also assess COVID’s impact on forest management and governance commitments under the Central African Forest Initiative (CAFI). Across the Congo Basin, fears that a proper lack of oversight may put forests and forest peoples in danger are looming despite emerging initiatives.

Read more …

22 May 2020 International Day for Biological Diversity

The theme of the 2020 International Day for Biological Diversity is “Our Solutions are in Nature”. It shows that "Biodiversity remains the answer to a number of sustainable development challenges that we all face. From nature-based solutions to climate, to food and water security, and sustainable livelihoods, biodiversity remains the basis for a sustainable future."

Read more …

Watch our new video – UICN

On the occasion of the World Biodiversity Day, this new PPI video proposes to illustrate this question of biodiversity conservation and the links with local economic development. It shows two testimonies, one of Alexis Kaboré (NATUDEV) who develops sustainable value chain of honey and shea butter in the PONASI complex in Burkina Faso and one of Caleb Ofori (Herp Ghana) who implements a national ecotourism project in the mountains of eastern Ghana.

Read more …

COVID-19 and smallholder producers’ access to markets - FAO

In a pandemic such as COVID-19, measures to limit the spread of the virus require physical isolation and various levels of restrictions on people’s movement, and in some cases complete lockdowns. Inevitably, these measures cause transportation delays and bottlenecks in the flow of goods and services, including in the agricultural sector.

Read more …

CBFP News Archive

2020