In the last decade, Africa's rain forests have been
at a faster rate than anywhere else in the world,
well-publicized Amazon region in South America; Nigeria,
example, is now 90 percent deforested. Environmental
has been less of a problem in Zaire than elsewhere in
Africa. Nevertheless, although still 86 percent intact in
1990s, Zaire's vast forests will be increasingly at risk.
threat has been the signing of contracts with foreign
corporations. Some 37 percent of the total exploitable
Zaire's rain forest has already been designated as timber
The most intense logging to date has been in Bas-Zaïre
in the hinterlands of the capital of Kinshasa. Logging
disrupts the forest ecology; worse, logging roads carved
forest to export felled timer have become avenues for
into the forest by poor farmers who clear and burn more
fields. In 1993 one analyst reported that there was
primary rain forest left in Bas-Zaïre.
In the east, the appropriation of land for ranching and
plantations in the Kivu highlands has simultaneously
hectarage and increased the intensity of use of the
by the existing population. The Ituri Forest of
has also experienced substantial recent immigration by
populations in need of fertile soil for their crops.
forest destruction has been reported as a consequence.
Data as of December 1993