Community forests expansion

October 20, 2018
Community forests expansion

Salonga National Park’s Rural Development program staff organized a series of meetings and exchanges with villagers and traditional chiefs, with local development committees and administrations to raise awareness about community forests implementation and debate opportunities for the local population. This was the first step in a collaboration process characterized by Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) to jointly work on the legalization of the forests and their management plans.

10 villages have signed agreements with the park for further support for participatory mapping and development of the documents required to apply to the provincial administration. “What we wish to accomplish here, is both giving rights and appropriate tools to local communities for the sustainable exploitation of their forests and encouraging a community conservation vision in these areas” explains Ernest Ntumba, community forest officer at the Salonga National Park Management Unit.

Towards the constitution of an ecological continuum

Located in the southern part of the corridor these forests play a specific role in conserving SNP’s biodiversity because they allow for conservation tools in the hands of local communities with forests still very pristine. Ecological inventories led by WCS have shown great biological diversity in this region. The community forests, once established, will be important for the “ecological continuum” between the two blocks of the Park. “The next step for us will be in November when we train local cartographers and local animators who will be nominated by local development committees. We will support them in conducting participatory mapping of future community forests and ensure continuous awareness raising and explanations during the entire process” Ernest Ntumba points out.

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