Deforestation is presently eating up the world’s largest tropical carbon sink: the Congo Basin in west-central Africa. The region boasts the second largest tropical forest in the world, after the Amazon, and the largest intact forest landscape. It’s also a biodiversity hotspot—one out of every five species on Earth is found there. As subsistence farming, expanding settlements, and commercial activities encroach on the “Lungs of Africa,” a key mitigation tool in the fight against climate change is being destroyed.
It’s both counterfactual and illogical to imagine that more people will solve the problem of too many people. – Naomi Oreskes, PhD
Internally displaced people carry charcoal from the forest at the foot of Nyiragongo volcano in Virunga National Park to the market in Kibati, DRC, on January 13, 2023. After the resurgence of the M23 rebellion north of Goma City, tens of thousands of people have crowded into makeshift camps in the Nyiragongo. They are struggling to find enough food for their families, so they turned to charcoal production. In less than two months, more than 200 hectares of trees were cut down. The forest of the Nyiragongo volcano will soon be nothing but stumps. Guerchom Ndebo/AFP via Getty Images