The Congo Basin, sometimes referred to as the “heart of Africa” and “lungs of the world,” absorbs more carbon than the tropical forests of the Amazon and Southeast Asia combined. It's home to 75 million people and species found nowhere else on Earth. Yet these forests are disappearing at alarming rates.
Protecting the Congo Basin
Home to 70% of Africa's forests, 10,000 species of plants and more than 400 species of mammals, the Congo Basin is one of the most biodiverse places on the planet. The region absorbs massive amounts of carbon, removing over 600 million tons of net carbon dioxide from the atmosphere annually – that's six times the estimated net removals in Amazon Basin forests.
With so much at stake, the world cannot afford the Congo Basin’s degradation, deforestation and biodiversity loss. Yet only 17% of the Congo Basin is protected today, and each year large areas are lost to deforestation due to logging, mining, agriculture, roads, fuelwood collection, hunting, and other pressures.
The Bezos Earth Fund, with grantee partners, is working to establish and strengthen protected areas in the Congo Basin, focusing on the Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, and Gabon – which collectively hold two-thirds of the intact forests in the Congo Basin. We are working to drive the creation, expansion, management, and monitoring of protected and conserved areas and advance Indigenous people’s tenure rights and the role of local communities and organizations in conservation.
Together, we will accelerate progress toward protecting 30% of the Congo Basin region by 2030.