Rainforest destruction in Africa
11 April 2007

International  The Congo rainforest is the life support system for  
millions of people in the 'green heart' of Africa. In the Democratic  
Republic of the Congo (DRC) alone, 40 million people depend on the  
forest. Like all large intact forests, it's also crucially important  
for regulating the local and global climate.
As the world's second largest rainforest, the Congo rainforest is  
also home to some of Africa's most iconic wildlife including  
gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos and forest elephants.

Today, we're releasing a new report, Carving Up the Congo, which  
exposes how international logging companies are causing social chaos  
and wreaking environmental havoc. It also reveals how the World Bank,  
by far the largest donor to the DRC, is failing to stop this  
destruction whilst the rainforest is being sold off under the  
illusion that it will alleviate poverty in one of the poorest  
countries on Earth.

Our report shows how, in spite of a moratorium on new logging that  
has been in place since 2002, over 15 million hectares of rainforest  
have been granted to the logging industry - that's an area five times  
the size of Belgium, and much of this is in areas that are vital for  
protecting biodiversity.

Taxes paid by the companies for the rights to log the forest should  
be going to local forest communities to provide essential services  
that those of us in developed nations take for granted like education  
and healthcare. But even the World Bank admits that over the last  
three years, not a single penny paid by the logging companies has  
reached local communities. This leaves these people not only without  
the forest that provided their food, shelter and medicine, but  
without the benefits they had been promised.

s. e. anderson (author of "The Black Holocaust for Beginners" -  
Writers + Readers) +