Halt Rapid Deforestation of Earth’s “Second Set of Lungs”

Target: Amy Ambatobe Nyongolo, Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development

Goal: Halt the deforestation of rainforest in the Congo Basin, which provides a home for some of the world’s most diverse species and represents one of most effective carbon sinks on Earth.

The Congo Basin is a lush region of land in Central Africa, mostly overlapped by the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It contains a series of rainforests which make up one of the most bio-diverse regions in the world — containing countless species, both discovered and undiscovered — and act as one of the planet’s most effective carbon sinks.

It’s for the latter reason, including the forests’ huge oxygen output, that they have been called Earth’s “Second Set of Lungs”. (After the Amazon Rainforest.)

At the beginning of the 21st century, the Congolese rainforests — then already heavily deforested — contained around a quarter of the world’s tropical forests. According to the blog FutureTimeline, at that time the Congo region “held some of the largest undisturbed portions of tropical rainforest on the planet, second only to the Amazon in Brazil.” The relevant article goes on to note that, “Spanning across six countries, it was home to over 10,000 unique species of tropical plants, 30% of which could not be found anywhere else on Earth. There were over 1,000 bird species, 700 fish species and 400 mammal species.”

However, deforestation (whether due to subsistence farming, overpopulation, fuelwood collection, or resource extraction) has seriously degraded the forest over many years and, because of this, it has been predicted that, by 2040, less than a third of the original Congolese rainforests may be left standing.

More can and should be done to protect and restore this unique and ecologically-vital place.


Dear Minister Nyongolo,

Please urge your government to do more to protect and restore the quickly-disappearing Congolese rainforests. These forests are vital to the Congo region’s economy and the livelihoods of its people — providing many ecosystem services — and contain some of the most diverse species of animals and plants in the world, while acting, collectively, as one of the planet’s most important land-based carbon sinks.

In 2009, writer Anjali Nayar, in an article in the scientific journal Nature, noted that a combined computer model employed by scientists doing research for the ’09 Copenhagen Climate Change Conference indicated that, by 2020, “forest cutting in the [Congo] region will increase to 0.3–0.5% per year…” if projections stay on course.

If these figures are to be believed, then the entirety of the Congolese rainforests are in peril, and swift and comprehensive action must be taken to save them.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Antoine Penda

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  1. Frances Raab says:

    You governmental monsters around the world may be on a suicide mission, but don’t include ALL THE REST OF US that want to LIVE Joyful, Peaceful, Beautiful lives. We the People demand you stop the destruction of our planet. NOW.

    • The governmental monsters want to destroy life – animal life, plant life, and human life…..but they have no intention of suiciding themselves. They have their billion dollar estates and underground bunkers, to protect themselves from the devastation they are causing on the earth.

  2. the end is near now , be prepared. we need the trees to fight pollution.

  3. Deforestation = no intelligence, no caring for the future.
    An old story that seemingly will not change until the last tree has fallen, and people choke in their own fumes.

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