The biggest driver of forest loss here is a surprising culprit: the basic need for families to gather firewood to cook on traditional stoves. This way of cooking is not only damaging for local people’s health, but it’s also an increasing threat to the forest and its biodiversity.
Over 90% of Congolese families continue to use charcoal as fuel. To support people and address this threat, Cool Earth is working with Fauna & Flora International (FFI) and the community of Lubutu. When it comes to reducing fuelwood use, it’s been a resounding success. So far, 811 stoves have been built. This has directly contributed to a 50% reduction in firewood collection, making a huge dent in reducing forest loss in the local area around Lubutu.
There’s still much to be done. Conflict, poverty and bushmeat hunting continue to put pressure on the forest and natural resources. The protection of the rare, endemic Grauer’s Gorilla is a key part of the wider FFI programme. By carrying out biomonitoring patrols and other livelihood development activities, the local community is protecting endangered wildlife, essential to maintaining a healthy, biodiverse forest.
Partner Organisation: Fauna & Flora International
With 90% of households cooking using charcoal, this is a key cause of forest loss and has 8 times the impact of logging in the DRC.
As open charcoal fires burn, often inside homes or in areas with limited ventilation, they release up to 5% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, and plumes of smoke and soot are liable for 4.3 million premature deaths each year.
With a growing population, deforestation rates are rising from logging to sell trees for an income.