Congo Basin | WWF
From the Atlantic Ocean to the Albertine Rift Mountains, the Green Heart of Africa provides livelihoods for tens of millions and is home to many of the world’s iconic species.
A mosaic of rivers, forests, savannas, swamps and flooded forests, the Congo Basin is teeming with life. Gorillas, elephants, buffaloes and hippos all call the region home.

The Congo Basin spans across six countries: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.

There are approximately 10,000  tropical plant species in the Congo Basin, of which an estimated 30% are unique to the region. Endangered wildlife, including forest elephants, chimpanzees, bonobos, and lowland and mountain gorillas inhabit the lush forests. 400 other species of mammals, 1,000 species of birds and 700 species of fish can also be found here.

The Congo Basin has been inhabited by humans for more than 50,000 years and it provides food, fresh water and shelter to more than 80 million people. Nearly 250 distinct ethnic groups exist, and the region’s Ba’Aka people are among the most well known representatives of an ancient hunter-gatherer lifestyle. Their lives and well-being are linked intimately with the forest.

WHY ARE THE FORESTS OF THE GREEN HEART OF AFRICA SO IMPORTANT?

The forest ecosystem is hugely important to the economy of the region, and of the world. It provides food, fuel and shelter to millions of people, and regulates climate and rainfall far beyond their borders. The timber industry, one of the top three employers in most of the Congo Basin’s countries, is worth several billions of Euros, and large reserves of oil and minerals as well as agroindustry could drive much-needed economic growth and development. WWF in Central Africa is therefore contributing to the global conservation priorities, in alignment with regional and national country conservation frameworks in the sustainable development areas, to build a future in which humans can live in harmony with nature.