Dynamic Planet- Sub unit 3 Battle for the Biosphere 3.2a How have humans impacted the biosphere ? To understand that the biosphere is being degraded by human actions
The destruction of the Congo basin
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ptiUM7GzyeQ&feature=PlayList&p=4F03A49561337C9E&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=39 WWF intro to congo basin
World's second largest rainforest
(18% of the planet's remaining
tropical rainforest). The Congo Basin
represents 70% of the African
continent's plant cover and makes
up a large portion of Africa's
biodiversity with over 600 tree
species and 10 000 animal species.
Six nations -- Cameroon, the Central
African Republic, the Republic of
Congo, the Democratic Republic of
Congo, Equatorial Guinea and
Gabon -- share the 1.5 million
square mile Congo basin.
Why study the Congo Basin Not the Amazon?
http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/tags/drc?page=1 video clip carving up the Congo 8m 25 secs
The Congo Rainforest is one of the world's most threatened ecosystems.
Commercial logging, clearing for subsistence agriculture, and widespread civil strife has devastated forests, displaced forest dwellers, and resulted in the expansion of the "bushmeat" trade.
Since the 1980s, Africa has had the highest deforestation rates of any region on the globe.
Logging in the Congo Basin has increased significantly as peace has returned to the region.
In 2004, encouraged by the World Bank, Congo announced its plans to step up the commercial logging of its rainforest.
The timber industry is a major employer in Congo countries and thousands of workers rely on logging companies for basic healthcare and other services.
Illegal logging is a significant problem as underpaid bureaucrats look to supplement their incomes by opening restricted areas to cutting.
Since the end of the war in Congo DR, concessions have been granted and the pace of logging in Africa's largest remaining rain forest is picking up
Most of the deforestation in the Congo is caused by local subsistence activities by poor farmers and villagers who rely on forest lands for agriculture and fuel wood collection.
Slash-and-burn is commonly used for clearing forest
Typically, poor farmers and colonists gains access to forest lands by following logging roads, although in the past few years civil strife has driven many Central Africans deep into the rainforest to escape the widespread violence.
Central Africa has been plagued with violence since the mid-90s.
Hundreds of thousands of refugees have moved through the forests of the Congo, stripping vegetation and devastating wildlife populations. National parks like Virunga -- home to the endangered mountain gorilla -- were looted and park staffers slaughtered.
Refugee camps bordering parks added to the pressure on parklands.
The Congo Basin has some of the world richest mineral deposits. Mining operations are poorly monitored and virtually no consideration is given to short-term health efects -- much less to the environmental impact.
China to establish giant oil palm plantation in DR Congo mongabay.com July 10, 2009
ZTE Agribusiness Company Ltd, a Chinese firm, plans to establish a one million hectare oil palm plantation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) for biofuel production, reports China state media. Zhang Peng, ZTE's regional manager, told Xinhua that the plantation could yield up to 5 million tons of palm oil per year, 90 percent of which could be converted to biodiesel. He claimed that the plantation would employ "thousands" of local Congolese workers. Xinhua didn't specify whether production would be for local consumption or export, nor did it note the location of the plantation. Current oil palm production in DR Congo stands at around 240,000 metric tons, while demand is expected to grow to 465,000 metric tons in 2010 and 540,000 metric tons in 2015. Gas and diesel imports to DR Congo were 251,000 metric tons in 2006 according to the IEA, suggesting that biodiesel production from palm oil could meet the country's entire demand for diesel and palm oil.
The Bush meat Trade
Today the visitor to many Central African cities can purchase the meat of virtually any forest animal.
Demand for bushmeat is driven by the desire for protein, not necessarily the animal source of the protein, the demand for which varies from market to market. In Gabon, McRae reports that annual per capita consumption of bushmeat may reach eight pounds annually.
The availability of bushmeat is made possible by the logging industry whose road construction opens rainforest to hunters and settlers.
Hunters make a living by selling bushmeat to passing loggers, traders, and local villagers. The majority of bushmeat is brought to city markets by loggers.
Regional bushmeat hunting is expected is increase as commercial logging expands in the Congo Basin.
More than 300 gorillas butchered each year in the Republic of Congo Rose Picardal of Endangered Species International March 27, 2009
Gorilla is sold in the form of smoked meat already cut in pieces. A piece of hand size smoked gorilla is usually sold for 2,500 CFA (6 USD). ESI has estimated about 300 gorillas butchered a year for the bushmeat market in Pointe Noire. Gorilla illegal market trade is thriving in Congo and the mass arrival of the Chinese in search of natural resources will exacerbate illegal hunting for rare and endangered species.
Examples of frequent wildlife
species observed by a local ESI
team led by Franck Makoundi,
included mandrill, African rock
python, spotted hyaena, great
blue turaco, Nile monitor, and
gorilla his dad!!! elephant frog green blue butterfly Can money save the Congo basin rainforest? http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2008/jun/17/canmoneysavethecongobasin
Conserving the Congo Basin
Cameroon rainforest given 30 days to be conserved or sold off for logging Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com June 18, 2009
Gorillas orphaned by bushmeat trade set free on island
Congo biochar initiative will reduce poverty, protect forests, slow climate change mongabay.com May 19, 2009 http://news.mongabay.com/2009/0519-biochar.html
Farmer applying biochar to a poor soil. Children show charcoal made from palm branches.
The EU and Republic of Congo announce system to eradicate illegal logging Jeremy Hance mongabay.com May 11, 2009 http://news.mongabay.com/2009/0511-hance_congoexport.html
The government of Republic of Congo (Brazzaville) has offered 25 million acres (10 million hectares) of land to South African farmers in an effort to improve the central African nation's food security, reports Reuters. The area is nearly twice the amount of arable land in South Africa. The deal was revealed by Theo de Jager, deputy president of Agriculture South Africa (AgriSA), South Africa's lagrest farmers union, in an interview with Reuters last week at an agriculture conference in Durban.
Republic of Congo to turn over 25 M acres of land to South African farmers mongabay.com April 20, 2009 http://news.mongabay.com/2009/0420-congo_farming.html
Should the Congo basin be exploited or protected at all costs?